“. . . give thanks in all circumstances.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:18
If there was any saving grace from this winter’s historic Arctic cold front it would be, for our household at least, that it caused us to have a much deeper appreciation for what we have, as opposed to dwelling as we sometimes do on what we do not have; for it was out of pure necessity that in order to endure – indeed to survive – the extreme cold required making best use of what we have rather than concerning ourselves with what we feel we lack or wish we had.
Like many, we experienced periodic loss of power, sometimes for hours at a time causing the temperature inside our home to plummet, a problem over which we had no control. We had no choice but to figure out how to make best use of what we have. Without our furnace functioning during the power outages, for example, we created a cozy living space near the gas fireplace in our living room that provided much needed warmth. We found seldom used wool blankets to bundle up in enabling us to sleep at night. Taking inventory of our pantry and freezer we found that we were stocked with ample food to feed us for several days, and our gas cooktop ensured we had a place to cook it. We had candles to provide light during the dark evenings, and a deck of cards along with our old Scrabble board to keep us entertained when we could neither read nor watch TV.
In other words, despite the miserable conditions of those several days, we had plenty, all we needed to get by. There are, of course, people all around who are less fortunate, who do not have enough to sustain themselves, who lack such basics as food, shelter, and clean water. But I am not in that category. So, why do I always want more when others suffer from having too little? It is one of mankind’s oldest temptations, I suppose, going back to the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. They had plenty, all they ever needed to get by – except they wanted more, that one fruit they had been forbidden to take.
I am so like Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, surrounded by plenty. Yet, how tempted I am, like them, to reach for more. Thanksgiving is the only remedy for such a condition, and for a brief few miserable, bitterly cold days I was able to experience a deep appreciation for what we have, and to “give thanks in all circumstances.”