I’m learning, again, that having a thankful heart is an attitude of remarkable value in this life.  It is a heart attitude cherished by our Father.  It is the result of humility appropriate for a created being, one given this priceless gift of life.  It is the fruit of one who recognizes his place in the world, where every moment of awareness is a gift and control over this life has much to do with forces outside of our control and less to do with us.  The control over our circumstances are in the hands of a God we understand but a little but one who has demonstrated profoundly that His care for us can be trusted.  This perspective, this humility, yields a heart of gratitude directed toward its Maker, its Provider, and toward the One who’s blessings are evident to the heart with eyes to see.

I’m reminded of the value of gratitude because I’ve gotten to know two people who have entered my life and consistently demonstrated such humble gratitude, while walking through difficult, unexpected circumstances.  Dan, who suffered through the injuries of a serious motorcycle accident while on a trip to the interior to help those in need, and his wife, Laura.

I had the privilege of getting to know Dan while spending many hours at his side in the hospital.  He endured much pain, could not communicate at all with his caregivers, was forced to spend 11 days in this condition away from those who know him and love him.  He faced all of this unknown, all the humility and pain, without one word of complaint!  He expressed gratitude for every little thing, over and over, through each day.  He expressed gratitude for his family, his good memories, each email, each visit, each "meal" of weak broth, each bath and shave.  His gratitude was strikingly beautiful, especially in light of his circumstances.  His attitude challenged me and caused me to realize that I desire a more thankful heart, especially when things are tough.

I also had the opportunity to spend much time on the phone with Laura, Dan’s wife, who was taking it all in from her home in British Columbia.  She had much to complain about, facing delay after delay in Dan’s returning home and dealing with an insurance company whose decisions were difficult to understand.  But…  Her attitude was one of gratitude, for every call, every email, every bit of good news, every effort given for Dan and for her.  Her attitude made interacting with her such a pleasure.  It made my burden light.  Gratitude is so honoring, so uplifting to the receiver.  I understand better why our Father loves a grateful heart.  It honors Him appropriately.  It recognizes the truth.  It brings light to dark circumstances.

There is so much that I don’t understand about life.  But, through Dan and Laura, I recognize the beauty and value of a thankful heart, even when faced with what you don’t understand.  I’m sure that Dan and Laura hoped that God would use this sacrificial, expensive trip in various ways.  I’m sure that they never thought that God would use them to minister to my heart in this way!  I’m so grateful for them, for their hearts, and for the One who is always instructing and guiding me.

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