“We live in constant dependence upon this merciful kindness of the Father, and thus our whole life is a life of gratitude—a constant response to His help which comes to us at every moment.” – Thomas Merton, Thoughts In Solitude
Once I finally got my arms around the idea that the abundant life is not achieved by any striving or personal performance that I do to bring about desired results (which puts me in control of my spiritual life) and is, rather, received from the hands of a gracious, loving, generous Father, I find myself living in a constant state of gratefulness.
When I was involved in my head-on car collision a couple of years ago, as soon as I opened my eyes after impact and realized my daughter and I were not only alive but spared from serious injury, the first words out of my mouth were, “Thank you, Jesus!” In fact, that’s all I could find to say. I told everyone involved in our rescue, “Thank you!” Seriously.
“Thank you for calling 911.”
“Thank you for stopping and coming to see if we were okay.”
“Thank you for talking to me to keep me alert.”
“Thank you for calling my husband.”
“Thank you for giving me a blanket.”
“Thank you for being so careful to pull me out.”
“Thank you for going into a caring profession.”
I even told the EMTs in the ambulance “Thank you” for being so careful in cutting off my clothes.
I’m not kidding. I was grateful…for everything I was given.
Some say I was in shock. I probably was. There was no denying I was grateful to be alive and every day that I lived from here on out was a gift. Long before that day, however, I understood that every day, every blessing was as well.
I do not live in relentless frustration that life might slip through my hands because I am not trying harder. I do not live trying to master a spiritual technique or twist God’s arm to turn his face in my direction and somehow harness divine favor. I do not live with a nagging sense I should do more or be more. I live in a constant state of grateful receiving the overflowing life Jesus died to give me. For when life becomes a gift to be received from a reliably benevolent God, all I can be is grateful.