Monday, November 17, 2008

Practicing Thankfulness #14-#17

I have a lot of catching up to do. My lack of posting has no reflection of my mindset of practicing thankfulness. On the contrary, this posting series has been very convicting as I am forced to think each and every day about what I can practically and thoughtfully be thankful to the Lord for. Sorry, Eric, if this post is too long for your Google reader. :)

14. I am thankful for medical care. I had quite a surprise this week as I discovered that I have a little parasite living in me. As I was waiting in urgent care on Thursday evening and enduring all the "sample" tests for parasites (trust me, you don't want to know...), I was thankful that I have a trained team of doctors and specialists who know what they're talking about and who genuinely care for my well-being as a human. I am thankful that they took the time and energy and effort to go through medical school. I understand that is not an easy task. I am thankful that they decide to come to work each day and listen to our problems, doing their best to find a solution. I think it's easy to become frustrated with the medical system, and I am definitely known to be short with doctors when they don't know what's going on or making me jump through hoops. May my response to such situations be full of thankfulness in the future.

15. I am thankful for the United States of America. We took some of our youth down to Mexico on Friday and Saturday this weekend. We take them every year to partner with Spectrum Ministries, which is a ministry based in San Diego. Spectrum's main ministry is to take care of some of the physical needs of local, impoverished Mexicans, that they might display the work of Christ and be a living testimony to those who may not believe. We spent Saturday morning and afternoon bathing local children, giving them a new outfit to have (our own hand-me-downs) and trimming and brushing their hair. Spectrum serves many different areas of northern Mexico, and this time we went a little further south to an area in the dusty hills. Apparently Spectrum staff gets to this location about once a month, so some of the children we were bathing and taking care of literally hadn't bathed in a month. As we crossed the border back into the United States on Saturday evening I couldn't help but have the stereotypical yet appropriate attitude of thankfulness for the provisions we have in the United States. I am thankful that God had be born in this country and can (I think) genuinely appreciate it.

16. I am thankful for safety. Some of you are aware that my city/area, Santa Clarita, is on fire...again. And those of you who have lived here longer than me know that it happens around this time every year. Again, it's one of those "out of sight, out of mind" things where it's very stressful when the fires are happening, but I don't do very many practical things to be more prepared when there are no fires. Yesterday in 2nd service at church Brian prayed and thanked God for the safety that He has provided us with: the safety from fires for some, the safety that the firemen provide for us all, but ultimately, the safety that we have in knowing that God is in control and has planned every detail of our lives from eternity past. It was a very thought-provoking prayer to listen to, and has caused me to be thankful in particular for our safety.

17. I am thankful for Whole Foods Market. As a part of my job I am required to make weekly rounds at Whole Foods. As shallow as it sounds, I have come to have a bond with this supermarket. Let's just face the facts: it's a cool place. I know a few of the employees at the Valencia store by name, and it's fun to catch up with them, hoping in the midst of it to be some sort of light and encouragement. As I was having casual conversation with Danny, the butcher, this morning, I caught myself in a moment of thankfulness for the store. I am thankful that, though I'm sure much of it's marketing hype and "go green" strategy, they employ local farmers and growers by buying produce from them. Danny was telling me that he has worked 6 days in a row now (much due to the Thanksgiving prep), and we talked about how good it is to have a job right now. There's another Italian man, Ande, who frequently bags my groceries. Though he did not today, it was fun to wave to him from across 3 lanes and yell, "Hey Ande!" and hear, "Hello, miss!" There's just something really meaningful about someone insignificant knowing your name, for you to have an identity with them. I am thankful for the market and the relationships God has allowed me to build there.

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