I tell you my friends, a delightful way to end any day is lying next to a two year old (who is avoiding bedtime like the plague) and beginning the usual bedtime routine prayer: "Thank you God for... Daddy. Thank you God for... Mommy. Thank you God for... Melina. Thank you God for... Isabel... for Anika, Ethan, Grandma & Grandpa, Pepere & Baba, Grandma Jacqui, etc.." On and on the prayer goes as we add fun things like "sunshine" and "smiles" and for "healing bo-bos". No matter what kind of day you have had, when you stop and give thanks for all of those good things, you can't wipe the smile that finds its way across your face and into your heart.
Tonight was no exception. I lay there with my beautiful little Anika who told me to "put your head down, mommy" when I was busy brushing the hair from her face. She then said "I want to say 'thank you God'."
"Ok, sweetheart... Thank you God for..."
"No, mommy... it's Anka's turn." (Yes, I love that her name is Anka when she is trying to get a point across quickly).
"Oh, ok. It's Anika's turn. Go ahead, Anika."
"Thank you God for... daddy! Daddy's right here. (giggle). Thank you God for... MOMMY! Mommy, are you right here?"
"Yes, mommy is right here."
"Thank you God for Anka. Thank you God for... tractors. Thank you God for... combines. Thank you God for... fields. Thank you God for... friends. And for flamily."
"Yes mommy, flamily. Thank you God for... aunty Rhea! Thank you God for... puppy dogs. (giggle, giggle). Thank you God for... sheep."
"For sheep? Oh that's a good one."
Giggle "Yes, sheep. Thank you God for hay."
"Oh yes, hay is a very good one, too."
"I all done now, mommy."
"Ok, now we say 'thank you God for... EVERYTHING. In Jesus' name... AMEN!'"
And with that gladness in my heart, I gave her her cup of water to sip from and kissed her goodnight. This feeling is something I wanted to share with you all. It lifts the spirit from all its burdens and you remember the very glory that brings us peace. Our lives get so hectic and busy that we often forget the gift of "grace" and "serenity". And that is precisely what they are... gifts!
My darling sister reminded me in the hecticness and mental chaos of trying to solve Ethan's health mysteries to take peace, be still and to meditate. For me, that stillness comes when I can go for a walk or a jog... when my mind is free of "I should wash the potatoes first and then get the carrots going... no wait, I should get the pot of water going for the potatoes first because that takes the most time... well first I'll get Ethan's food thawing THEN I'll get the water going... woops but not til I've given Izzy her water. Shoot, I was supposed to do that ten minutes ago! ETC..."
Oh that glorious stillness where the universe suddenly fits into my head and each thought is a galaxy away from reaching me... it makes me finally understand why God said "Be still and KNOW that I am God."
Of course! In that stillness there is time to REFLECT and all of those "thank you God for..." come flooding in like a meteor shower of gratitude. You feel yourself being filled as though LOVE itself had poured itself into you. And the mundane becomes nothing short of a brilliant star in the symphony of the sky. So insignificant in an endless sea of sparkles, yet without it, the sky would be short of all its light.
THAT is the gift I want to share with you. That is the feeling I want you to experience. That is my prayer for you tonight.
Whatever is on your mind at this very moment, whoever has recently upset you, whatever disappointment plagues your self-esteem, whichever fear keeps you from achieving... I pray this:
"Thank you God for... the people reading these very words at this very moment.
Thank you God for... the breath of life YOU breathed into them that they could be here today.
Thank you God for... their PURPOSE, for the tears you have wept for them, for the glory their good deeds have brought you. And most importantly, thank you God not for the moments they let you down but rather for those humbling moments where they faced you again to be ACCOUNTABLE. So Father, I ask you this: bring them SERENITY and the peace that fills their soul when they let go of their struggles and embrace their blessings.
And thank you God for... puppy dogs. Because they're just so darn cute. In Jesus' precious name... Amen."