I try my very best to stay in tune with our 15 grandchildren. I really want to know what they enjoy doing and what activities make them happiest. Gift-giving times, in particular, are sometimes challenging when I'm not physically with a grandchild very often. I rely on the Mommas for ideas, but even then, friends or the other grandparents may have the same ideas I have. It's always fun when a gift I give is greeted with shrieks of glee. More often, though, I receive a smile, a quick hug, and a "thank you," prompted by parents trying to teach manners and gratitude, and the gift and the person who gave it are promptly forgotten.
Last week, seven-year-old Silas had his turn to open birthday gifts. His mom assured me that Legos were his gift of choice, so I spent a good deal of time selecting several sets that were age-appropriate and had elements I thought he'd enjoy. He was excited when he realized the wrapped package contained Legos, but he noticed one of the sets and said, "You gave me this same set last year." Deep sigh. Epic Grandmomma failure. At least the other sets were new, right?
A little later, when he was hugging me goodbye, he said, with all the honesty and forthrightness of a child his age, "I'm not TOO disappointed."
You know, as I've thought about it, I don't believe Silas was being purposefully rude or ungrateful. I'm not sure what he was hoping to receive. He was mildly disappointed, but at least he wasn't TOO disappointed. Thank goodness. I'm convinced he has spent some happy time with his brothers and his buddies playing with those Legos this week as if they had been the very ones he wanted most. But still . . .
God gives ME gifts. Do I receive them with unbridled joy and thankfulness? Or do I say a half-hearted thank you while in the back of my mind wishing the gift had been bigger, better, shinier, or more expensive?
God has allowed Steve and me to have a beautiful home. Why do I often look at the real estate listings for fancier ones? "God, I'm not TOO disappointed."
Steve's skill as a veterinarian has provided a good, secure living for our family. Have I ever daydreamed wishing he'd been an SEC football coach bringing in millions of dollars? "God, I'm not TOO disappointed."
God allowed me to learn to play the piano and use that skill in churches and in teaching. Why do I think that if I had it to do over again I would love to have been a drummer? A DRUMMER, of all things. "God, I'm not TOO disappointed."
How ridiculous! But is this what God hears when I speak since He knows my heart? These might be silly examples, but the point is that I'm afraid I hold back on expressing and truly embracing wholehearted gratitude for my many blessings. Good health; a long, loving marriage; 3 thriving children married to godly spouses; 15 bright, beautiful, healthy grandchildren, His unconditional love and gift of salvation and eternity in heaven. I occasionally tease my children about being "ungrateful wretches," while I am the one who needs to acknowledge that title.
"Dear Father, thank you for all You have given me. Thank you for protecting me, providing for me, loving me, and caring about every detail of my minutes, hours, and days. Thank you for giving me so much more than I deserve and for giving me mercy and forgiveness when I have sinned. Please keep me from looking over my shoulder at what others have and make me satisfied and content with what I have, realizing that You have met every need. Help me to be truly grateful all through the year and not just when Thanksgiving season comes around. In Jesus' name. Amen."
Psalm 103:1-5 (I love the King James Version of these verses) -- "Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. 2 Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: 3 Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases;
4 Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; 5 Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's.
Psalm 9:1 -- "I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart;
I will tell of all your wonderful deeds."