by: Cris Corzine-McCloskey
I have been using a gratitude journal. Each night I am given a writing prompt by way of an inspirational quote or question. These ideas direct me to seek out and reflect on the things I have to be grateful for. The other night I was given this question, “What 3 things do you have that you are grateful for?” Since the word “have” implies ownership, the question was not an easy one to answer.
Think of the tornadoes that recently ripped through Alabama. The news was full of horrifying images. Peoples homes, full of their prized possessions, reduced to matchsticks in a matter of moments. One clip showed an elderly woman sitting in a pile of rubble, praising God she was still alive. There were at least 23 others who were not so lucky. This town knows what that feels like, as do many towns around us. Events like that have a way of searing themselves into our memories because they teach us how fragile our lives are and how quickly we can lose what felt so permanent the day before.
Grief counseling is a big part of what we do at CCM, and it isn’t always a death causing the grief. Career changes, job loss, even retirement can be hard on people. The tendency is to place our identity in our careers, so when they change, we feel lost and question our purpose.
Another thing people grieve is divorce or family estrangement. Sadly, while it takes 2 to enter a marriage or relationship, but it only takes 1 to end it. This is tragic and unfair, but part of life. We aren’t meant to cling to things that don’t love us back. Kids leave, spouses want out, friends come and go. None of it is as permanent as we would like to think.
As a therapist, part of my job is to know the fragility of life, and how the things we hold so dear can be lost at a moments notice. That’s why, when faced with the question of what 3 things I have that I’m grateful for, I ended up with this answer, “The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.”
I promise you, I am not over-spiritualizing the question or the answer, I’m just keeping it real. I know my good, good, Father has a lot of stuff out on loan to me, but it’s only on loan. Even if my marriage lasts another 50 years, it’s likely one of us will have to go first, so my spouse is only on loan. My career, as much as I love it, is not something I will do forever, so it’s a temp position. I can’t over-identify or wrap my existence around a temp position. My family, especially my parents, are more dear to me than words can say, but they belong to God. My precious pooches are created by God and loaned to me as temporary blessings in my life. The upside of this is, when we know things are on loan, we know they aren’t ours, so we don’t take them for granted.
I love to read, and our local library is full of books they generously loan me. When I have something that belongs to them, I take extra good care of it, and I thoroughly enjoy it while it is in my possession. When I return it, I feel a little sad, until I remember all the other titles that are at my disposal, just waiting to be discovered. God’s unlimited grace and blessings are like that. We can’t exhaust His supply. He merely asks that we treasure Him more than the things He loans us. He’s the only permanent thing we will ever have or ever need, and He’s holding on to you.