Counting gifts and thanks giving

I pulled the wilting flower from behind my ear and rolled the stem back and forth between my fingers. Purple petals curled in on the yellow center. I smiled, thinking about the small boy who’d put it in my hair that morning. I found an old journal in my desk drawer and ran through the week’s events in my head. I grabbed a pen and started making a list. A Local Coffee Shop Visit, Puppy Kisses, Fresh Raspberries… Once I started, things kept coming. I was surprised by how much I had to be thankful for and how much I’d taken for granted.

Most of the time, I think about what I want. What I don’t have. And I think about how I can get it. This semester has turned my thoughts about consumption upside-down and inside-out, though. We’ve been reading books like Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger. I probably don’t have to tell you that it was an uncomfortable read.

I’ve had to come face-to-face with how selfish I can be when it comes to my stuff. I blur the lines between needs and wants and convince myself that a thousand little luxuries are things that I require for survival.

As I wound through the hills of middle Tennessee, I watched the leaves turn from green to bright orange and gold. My heart felt ready to explode with the wonder of it all. And I wondered. What if the anecdote to m relentless consumption was to give thanks? Maybe I could stop wanting if I could slow down long enough to wonder at the world I’ve been given.

It's not a new thought. Several years ago, Ann Voskamp introduced me to the idea of counting gifts. Somewhere along the way, though, I got distracted. But this week, the list continues. Plane Flights, Backyard Naps, My Front Porch Swing. I'm counting them because those things are only as much of a gift as I realize them to be.

The days are bursting with wonder and this week, we stop to remember it. There will be plenty of opportunities to buy things, and I’m sure I will. But my first step out of the cycle is to give thanks for what I’ve been given. So much of life is joy. It’s just a question of opening our eyes to see it.