Magazine Article

A Lesson in Thankfulness

Find something for which to be thankful

Joan McNaughton
A Lesson in Thankfulness
Photo by Guillaume de Germain on Unsplash

Have you ever thought that others are far more blessed than you? I’m ashamed to admit it, but I have. Not long ago I lay in bed suffering from the debilitating symptoms of lupus. I was so overwhelmed. I couldn’t think of a single thing for which to be thankful.

Dark thoughts played across my mind. I was depressed! Having lupus has changed my life drastically. There are restrictions. I must avoid or limit my time in the sun. I spend more time resting in bed than being up and about. I cannot travel. I no longer spend the amount of carefree time I would like in nature, hiking my neighborhood trails, because of chronic fatigue. Oh, how I miss my old self, which I long took for granted!

It is embarrassing to admit there are times it has taken a tragedy, someone’s expression of gratitude, or my escaping a potentially fatal close call to awaken within me a spirit of gratitude, reminding me how blessed I am despite having lupus.

One such incident happened on my commute to work one lovely summer morning. I had caught the late express bus and was pleasantly surprised to find an empty seat next to a colleague I had not seen recently. After a bit of small talk our conversation turned to her two teenage sons.

Like most proud parents she excitedly mentioned that her sons were attending a Christian boarding school. She seldom saw them, but they were doing well. She mentioned that she was now divorced and had been raising them singlehandedly. As a result, she had to work two jobs to support them. She emphasized that they were “good boys,” and she was grateful they adhered to the values and morals she had instilled in them. She had not encountered the problems most divorced single parents had with their children, and she was grateful to God for His watchcare over them.

She then made a statement I hope I never forget: “Sometimes I am so thankful to God that I do not ask anything of Him. All I can do is thank Him!” 

Her inspiring words shone the spotlight on my own ingratitude. I realized then that I had spent much of my life asking God for favors while neglecting to thank Him for His blessings. I am thankful for that chance encounter.

Looking back at that incident today has helped me realize how blessed I am. Most people suffering from lupus are far worse off than I am. That reminds me that regardless of my circumstances, I can always find something for which to be thankful.

Joan McNaughton

Joan McNaughton writes from Canada.