This conversation has taken place many times. Only this time, the setting was a living room. I sat across from this woman who was many years older than me. In front of her was her walker. She had seen some difficult days, in terms of her health. At one point in this conversation, I asked her how she managed to keep going in spite of some of the frustrations that she was facing. "How do you keep going?"
That is a good question for all of us at one time or another. Last night when I got home, I was feeling very frustrated for a variety of reasons. None of these frustrations had anything to do with home. I just happened to be home when I realized just how frustrated I was feeling. Frustration is very real at different points in life. It can be work related, family related, health related, or a combination of several factors (which seems very common). So how does a person keep going in the middle of frustration?
I have no quick and easy answers. Nor do I want to suggest some sort of formula. I don’t have one. Yet, I know that it is very helpful for me to remember that I have much to be thankful for.
1. I am thankful that we got to visit with Jamie (our younger daughter) last night through Skype (like the telephone except it happens through the computer). Jamie is studying abroad as a part of a group from Oklahoma Christian University. She is in Japan and staying with a very nice family. Her study each day is at Ibaraki Christian University. She is having some amazing experiences and is learning so much. (See pictures here.)
2. I am thankful for Christine (our older daughter) and our son-in-law Phillip. This past weekend, he was part of a men’s retreat at which my good friend Scotty Harris spoke. I was impressed that Phillip took advantage of this great opportunity to learn. He and Christine are part of a very fine church.
3. I am thankful for my health. The other day, I spent the afternoon at Baylor Rehabilitation Center where my mom is recovering from knee replacement surgery. At one point Friday afternoon, I went to therapy with her. In this massive room were men and women of all ages who were receiving therapy for all kinds of conditions. One person seemed to have no use of his right side (appeared to be about 30 years old). Another appeared to have had a severely broken leg. I left there grateful for my health.
4. I am thankful for good conversations. Just yesterday I had a few brief but pleasant conversations with my mom, my brother, and my friend Doug. I am learning to be thankful for these moments.
5. I am thankful for our life group. This is a wonderful group of people who really make an effort to encourage one another. This is a real highlight for me each week.
6. I am thankful to people I interact with regularly through this blog. I have been very blessed to become acquainted with a number of men and women who have made my life even richer because of their regular thoughts and encouragement.
7. I am thankful that my life in Christ really does not depend on circumstances being just right. Nor does it depend on the behavior and functioning of others.
8. I am thankful for people who have added so much to my life. Have I ever been blessed! I can’t believe the people who through the years have in some way made a positive contribution to my life. I don’t take this for granted.
Most of all, I am thankful for God who is the treasure that I need more than anything else in life. I am thankful that there is a completeness that I have experienced in Christ. I am thankful for the forever presence of the Holy Spirit which is a regular reminder to me that I am not doing life by myself.
Of course, all that I have just mentioned does not make frustration or issues go away. Yet, just remembering what I have does have a way of at least taking the sharp edge off the frustration. Perhaps most of all, my gratitude has a way of bringing some perspective and clarity to the day.
Can you relate to this? Does this connect?