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Mundane thankfulness

A lot has been written about Martin Luther.

He penned important books, nailed those 95 theses to that church door, laid the groundwork for Protestantism. Yeah, pretty significant accomplishments.

But even a big name like Luther knew the value in little things, and how little things do the math and add up to the whole ball and wax over time. That’s why he asked an important question back in the 16th century, one that’s still relevant five centuries later: What will you do in the mundane days of faithfulness? This week I’d like to borrow from the famous monk but change a word. I have a question for those of you out there living the ordinary life, the one characterized by everyday, all the time, and routine.

What will you do in the mundane days of thankfulness?

Mundane days, mind you. We’re not talking about the big day of thankfulness that blew through last week with a capital “T” and federal holiday status. I’m talking about the mundane days. The ones that fill our calendar and date the photos filling up our phones. The ones we crawl out of bed to attack in the morning and crawl into bed at night to recoup from. Need further clarification? Go to Ecclesiastes.

It is good and proper for a man to . . . find satisfaction in his toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given him — for this is his lot.

So, how to be thankful in the midst of the mundane? How to stop the sighing and the low-volume griping and the persistent, pervasive discontent that threatens to snuff the living daylights out of living?

Well, like pretty much everything else in life, it’s a choice. It’s choosing to be thankful.

Like when it’s 6 o’clock and you haven’t started cooking supper, you choose to be thankful for filled chairs around your table.

Then when you pump 50 gallons of gas into a thirsty tank, you choose to be thankful you have a car. 

And when you pay taxes, you choose to be thankful you live in the greatest nation on Earth.

When you have to remind the teenager to __________ again, you choose to be thankful you’re a parent.

When you’re bone cold and the days are dreary, you choose to be thankful you have spring to look forward to.

Then when you make a mistake and your boss corrects you, you choose to be thankful you can still learn lessons.

When you have an expensive prescription to fill, you choose to be thankful for modern medicine.

And when four loads of laundry in need of folding are calling your name, you choose to be thankful for a dryer. 

Yeah, and when you’re sick to death of type, type, typing away on your computer all day, you choose to be thankful.

For Spell Checker.

Sound hard? For those of us clinging to Christ, being thankful is a command. Still, it doesn’t come naturally, even when you have an abundance of blessings. Just ask those nine lepers who forgot all their manners.

So, here’s a challenge for those of you who sweated the soliloquy around the Thanksgiving table last week. (You know, the one where everybody cites something they’re thankful for while the dressing gets cold.)

That kind of round-robin blessing counting is way too easy. Go for the harder, committed kind of thankfulness. The kind that shows up in the everyday, all the time, routine life most of us are living.

What will you do in the mundane days of thankfulness?

Kim Henderson is a freelance writer. Contact her at kimhenderson319@gmail.com. Follow her on twitter at @kimhenderson319.