by Christine Sine
This week’s gratitude scavenger hunt has taken me in directions I never expected.
I started by walking around our beautiful home thanking God for the many blessings it provides for us –
For office space that has become sacred space – big enough for a desk, an altar, shelves for lots of plants and to display my prayers.
For space to do hospitality and the appliances that make it easy – stove, microwave, electric kettle, crockpot, a spare room, a big living room and dining room for entertaining.
For plenty of light that keeps us all cheerful in the winter dark and helps my houseplants grow;
For private space for Tom and I where we can relax away from the pressures of community.
For a big backyard to grow vegetables in and lots of flowers to make us all smile.
The list seemed to go on forever but as we talked about this at our community meal on Tuesday Lisa reminded us that her family in Northern California is without power and I was brought up short by the reminder of so many who lack the privileges I take for granted. Flush toilets and electricity and warm showers. There is a whole realm of thanksgivings that I need to add to my list. Without these life is harsh and unsanitary. My thanksgivings need to elicit a response. What can I do to make it easier for some of those who are houseless and without sanitation to find a safe and secure place to live?
So as I bask in the joy and gratitude of a home when so many do not have one I am reminded to pray and to commit to a response.
I read through Isaiah 65:21-22 here quoted in The Voice and claim it as God’s promise for all those who are without shelter today.
People will confidently build houses and make them their homes;
they will plant vineyards and enjoy their fruit for years to come.
22 They won’t worry that someone else will come along, drive them out,
and take it all away.
For My people will live as long as these age-old trees;
My chosen will use up and wear out whatever they make.
I am reminded of those who have lost their homes because of hurricanes and fires and war. Spent quite a bit of time praying for those in the Bahamas who still do not have homes and for so many others in Puerto Rico who even after so many years are still without shelter. And that is only the tip of the iceberg. People in California and Australia who have lost their homes to wildfires, and most devastating of all the impact of war, the devastation of bombing and the need to flee with little hope of a secure place to land.
I was reminded too of those who have been pushed out of their homes because of injustice, economic pressure, and greed. We love Camano Island Coffee partly because this company partners with Agros to help people in Central America build houses and form community.
My gratitude for what I have needs to spill over into compassionate action. As I say in The Gift of Wonder:
Gratitude is about changing our perspectives not our circumstances. We can all reframe what happens to us with gratitude not resentment recognizing the richness of our lives in comparison to others. I am grateful for flush toilets, but millions in our world don’t have them. It is an added delight to think about how I could I make someone else’s life better by making this luxury available to them.
My reflections this week led to the creation of 2 collages – one of photos of our house and another of photos of those who lack housing. It is a good reminder for me to ensure my gratitude rolls over into action.