Not too many weeks ago, while sitting in a Quest Diagnostics's waiting room I picked up a copy of a Woman's Day magazine to keep me occupied. While thumbing through the pages, I came across an article that had a huge impact on my way of thinking, even in those few short minutes that I actually sat there. It was a story of a woman named, Denise Taylor, and her experiences and years with her daughter, Jonnae, who was diagnosed with cancer at the young age of 12 (and later passed on at age 15). Although you may imagine that it was a sad story of the disease and death of a wonderful young girl, it was actually an inspiring message to me on the importance of being grateful and not taking any small thing in life for granted.
Denise and Jonae kept gratitude journals, where they penned everything that they were grateful for, small and large. According to Denise, "“Once Jonnae wrote, ‘I’m grateful that I get to wear pajama pants,’” Denise recalls. “As a reaction to chemo, her skin was so sensitive that she couldn’t stand the pressure of clothing, so the days she could wear pajamas were good days."" [http://mobilelink.womansday.com/Articles/Lifestyle/Real-Life-Angels-Among-Us.html] During their family's battle with Jonnae's disease, Jonnae actually taught her family, " how to change their outlook by living life to the fullest and changing the way they talked. “I have to” became “I get to”. Jonnae deliberately focused “on the good stuff,” as she often put it, and paid as little attention as possible to anything negative."[ http://mobilelink.womansday.com/Articles/Lifestyle/Real-Life-Angels-Among-Us.html] Instead of grumbling and complaining about things they "had to do", the mother/ daughter team turned their focus on the positive, and changed "I have to" to "I get to".
How many of us need to change our daily outlooks and focus on the "good" in our lives? How often do we spend our days complaining about "this or that" and rambling on the phone with a friend about all the things we "have to" do that day, as if we'd so rather be doing something else?
I know that I am clearly guilty of such a thing. Though I love cooking, there are days that I wish I did not have to prepare a dinner. And I know that they are surely days that I totally wish that I did not have to tackle the huge piles of clothing that need to be folded.
But, I should be GRATEFUL! I should be grateful that "I get to cook, only because I have a precious family to cook for". I should be grateful that "I get to fold piles of clothes, because I obviously have been blessed to have a lot of clothing". And surely, all of this gratitude most deservedly should go to God "who daily loads us with benefits." [Psalm 68:19]
"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men"