Thursday, March 05, 2009

Taken For Granted

Today when I turned my key in the ignition of my car to drive to my flute lesson, it started without any trouble. After my lesson it did so again. Last Sunday morning it worked just as well. I didn't think twice about it as I put the car into reverse and started on my way. How quickly I fall back into taking things for granted.

You see, exactly a month ago today when I put my key in the ignition of my car and tried to start it, the car just coughed and clicked. Suddenly I was entirely focused on just wanting the engine to catch and rear to life. Suddenly the turn of the key met everything. I was able to get the battery replaced the following Saturday, and the next few times I drove the car I rejoiced when the car started with the turn of a key. Something as simple as a turn of a key became something that I rejoiced and gave thanks for. Yet, though only a month has gone by, I barely even think about it as I shove the key in and turn it with the flick of a wrist. After all, you put the key in and the car starts - it's a simple as that! Yet, it's a moment to give thanks.

As I frantically called my dad while trying to figure out what to do about my car, I was reminded by how much I take him for granted. Were I at home, he would have come and jumped the car and taken it in to get fixed. That's what daddies do for their daughters. =) Yet, when he was miles away, I had to take responsibility for getting the car fixed. I had to find someone to help me jump it, and when they didn't show up but the car finally had the energy to start on Saturday, I had to find an auto parts store, drive around to charge the battery up, ask for help, and wait while the battery was tested and then replaced. It taught me some responsibility, but it also made me very thankful for my daddy and all that he's done for me and for our family over the years. He was my lifeline through each step as I called and asked what I should do with the car, yet too often I take him for granted simply because "that's his job." The responsibilities for such things may rest upon him as head of the household, but I must still remember to thank him for each small thing that he does and thank God for giving me such a wonderful father. Yet too often, I take him for granted.

Health is another thing that is so easy to take for granted. After all, when we feel well we don't think about it - that's just how we're supposed to feel! Last week when I was sick and stuffy and coughing up a storm, I was so focused on how I felt and what I couldn't do. I didn't have as much energy yet I still had to go to classes and stay on top of things, I couldn't practice the flute without my tone sounding horrible, and I just wanted my nose to stop running for it was getting raw from all of the blowing! In God's grace I recovered, and now I sit here breathing easily and not even thinking about what a gift health is. We take feeling well for granted when life and breath truly is a daily gift and blessing that God gives to us!

Or when I get a horrible headache, as I did in the middle of last night, all I can think about is wanting my head to stop throbbing so that I can sleep. I take hours and hours of peaceful sleep for granted, yet when I'm interrupted and can't sleep because of the pain, suddenly it's all that I'm focused on as I beg God to give me relief. Yet when it's gone, I sleep peacefully and live my life with a clear head and not a thought to what a blessing it is that I can do many things without feeling pain.

I could go on and on about things that I daily take for granted. Obviously, we are human and can't remember to thank God for every little thing of every little day. Each moment that we are given, however, is a gift from God. Each fluffy cloud in the sky, each sound of a bird's song, each delicate flower petal - they're all reasons to give thanks.

Each day as I roll out of bed, no matter how tired I am or how much I'd like to keep sleeping, I try to start off with "Thank you, Father, for life and breath." It gives me perspective and encouragement to live. Sometimes I keep a running list of thank-yous to our God as I get ready for the day. Often, as I walk outside and see the beauty of His creation, I can't help but praise the Creator for the amazing things He's put before us. Just being able to see is such a gift!

What are you taking for granted today? Stop and thank God for it. It will give you the proper perspective on all that you have been blessed with.

"Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." - 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18


Ella said...

Health is something I take for granted as well. I know when I was down, I missed having energy and such. And right now, I realize how I took my vision for granted. When you are faced with things really notice...and wish you hadn't.

Sorry, though, that you had a headache the other day. I did last night. They sitnk!!

Families.....yes, we take them for granted far too often.

Jessica said...

Anna, I just can't help but comment. I'm a Jewish reader of yours, and I'm sure we don't have much in common (especially since I'm also a feminist). But you express such a beautiful sentiment. In fact, constant thankfulness and mindfulness is, to my mind, one of the most beautiful things about Judaism. Judaism has a blessing (they're called brachot--singular is bracha) for absolutely everything, from seeing a rainbow, to putting on a new item of clothing, to seeing a person of unusual stature, to going to the bathroom. Yes, after going to the bathroom one thanks God for creating a system of tubes, openings, and closings in one's body and enabling all of the openings and closings to work correctly. Now, it's possible to get legalistic about the brachot, of course, but the intention is to create a state of constant thankfulness, such that absolutely nothing is taken for granted. Baruch Hashem / Praise God! :-)

Tina said...

Great post, Anna.
Thank you for the wonderful reminder to try to constantly remember that every good thing (every breath) is a gift from God. He showers us with more than we ever realize. Thanks for the reminder.
In His love,

Anonymous said...

Dear Anna Naomi,
I'm a muslim and ,i want to say that your blog is very positive and nice,i've been reading it for a long time,i don't understand everything because i still learn english(it's not my first language).I agree with you about not take health for granted,I think we should pray to God and thank Him when we are healthy.Very good post.