When gratitude comes slowly

The e-mail comes from Bonnie, and the topic for today is gratitude. It comes to me on a day when trouble boils up at my brand new job, a day when my mother is able to go with an old friend from church and I realize that they are all gone, every single friend still at that church, beloved people I miss so much. It comes to me on a day when I struggle to enjoy hockey, my legs like jelly and muscles pulling as I drag goalie equipment around for the first time since babies. It comes to me on a day when I simply feel like an outsider, and I wonder where I'll find community. Perhaps at the ice rink? 

I think about the paradox of I John 2:15: Do not love the world or the things of this world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in Him. Yet the New Testament also constantly exhorts us to love the people of this world, to reach out to them, to lavish love upon them, to bless them and draw them to Christ's all-surpassing love. There is an unmistakable inner craving that constantly dogs me, to find a home here, a place where I can love and be loved. For what Christian is a stranger among Christians?

My mind always settles on the picture of my closed baby fists, gripping this world tight, unbendingly. As we slowly grow old, our hands open, until they are flat on our deathbed, no grip remaining, no tie to this world, ready for the next. This is a painful process, the breaking of the grip, the loosing of the anchor lines. But just like a great oceanliner held down by ropes and cables, only the tide of God's ocean of grace is necessary to pull us away from the dock, break the chains that bind, and leave us forever adrift on the waves of His mercy.

For this, and the binding of my soul inexorably to my home and family, I am grateful. I am ready to leave whenever He calls, but understand that for now, His call is toward my husband, children, the healing of us all so we can go out on the mission we crave. For each and every small joy of each and every day, I am grateful. He has brought me through the refiner's fire, and it is with a glad face I look upon the trials coming tomorrow, for I know that He is shaping me, molding me, and loving me through the best of times and the worst.