Thoughts on Gratitude

I was just finished playing piano Thursday night when… But to tell about that I need to give ya’ll some backstory. Rewind. For those of you who may not know, my dad has been in the legislature since I was nine. It has been our custom for each of us children to spend a week up in Topeka with him each year. (Well, I got to have three weeks this year because of reasons that I won’t bother to elaborate on because that’s a whole ‘nother story…) Anyways. I spent this past week in Topeka. So that’s backstory fact number one. Backstory fact number two: there is a slightly battered but usable piano on the second floor of the capitol building. Backstory fact number three: there is a blind man, Don, who runs a snack shop on the third floor of the capitol. (I hear they actually have a law just for him, that nobody can run a snack shop in the capitol unless they’re blind. That way nobody can compete with him and take away his ability to provide for himself.)

Okay, now we can start over. I was just finished playing piano Thursday night and my dad and I were going to leave for supper, when we found Don (the blind man, you recall) trying to feel his way towards us. He had an ancient tape recorder in tow, and upon us asking him, informed us that he was hoping to record me playing a song or two on the piano. Who could turn him down? So we helped Don to the piano, got the recorder set up, and I started playing.

My hands shook like a barn in a hurricane, and my voice was about as audible as if I was inside that barn. (Have I mentioned that playing in front of people terrifies me? Well…yeah. It does.) Gradually though, it began to be easier to play. Don has so little, and the least I could do was give him my best effort. When we finished recording the third song, he talked with us a while, and asked if he could pray with us. Of course he could! A few minutes later saw him back on the elevator and us on our way to supper.

But those few, short minutes with Don have stuck with me. He has to go through life feeling his way down corridors and streets, trusting to his memory to keep him on the right path. He doesn’t get to watch the gorgeous sunrises that I so often take for granted. He doesn’t get to stand on the balcony at the top of the dome and gaze for over a hundred miles on a clear day. (So the tourguide says, but she doesn’t remember the exact distance, and I have no clue how far it really is. But it’s far.) And yet, Don goes through life with such a grateful spirit, and he is always happy to encourage other people. He is a real blessing to the people around him.

How ungrateful I can be! I have so much, and yet I have so little because I haven’t got the sense to be thankful for the little things. God has blessed me so richly, and half the time I don’t even remember to notice, much less thank Him for His blessings. Don’s attitude is a good reminder for me to never, never take the little blessings for granted. Enjoy the sunrises. Relish the ability to walk with my hands in my pockets. Be grateful that I can stand on the top of the dome and gaze out over miles and miles endlessly. Oh, God blesses us in so many ways! Let us never forget it.

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Categories: Ponderizations | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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