As I said, I'm still en pointe a lot of the time, but with the new year, I'm feeling the touch of "the thing with feathers That perches in the soul," as Emily Dickinson calls it. One of the things that has helped is to make a concerted effort to tell a friend about the abundances, the blessings that have occurred each day. Even when the day was at its worst, I knew that I had to find something to send her in an email, even if the something was as simple as "I made it through another day without feeling like panicking."
It wasn't always easy because, for a long time, most of my life to be honest, I misunderstood 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus). I thought it meant that we were supposed to be happy about everything that happened. Woo Hoo, I got a flat tire! Yippee, I was just fired. YES!! I've just gotten really sick. YEAH God, this is so cool!
I couldn't understand how anyone was supposed to feel floods of joy and happiness resulting in an outpouring of thanksgiving when bad things were happening. In the course of writing about saints and adversity, I came to realize that even the saints weren't always tickled to death about bad things. And I realized that I had been misreading the bible verse all these years.
It isn't easy to do, but I've found it is possible. Take last year, for instance. It began in January with the axle breaking on my car---while I was driving it.While I certainly didn't give thanks for the break or the repair or the inconvenience of it all, I am finally able to be thankful that I noticed something was wrong just as I was driving by the dealership repair shop. I turned in and had they look at it right that moment. Had I driven even a few more yards--or attempted to get on the freeway--I would have been in a serious accident with a high potential of injury or death. So now, looking back, I can say that I found something to be thankful for in the midst of it all.
It's taken me some time to absorb the lessons, but as I wrote in the introduction to Facing Adversity with Grace:
So what have you found to be thankful for IN this day?I firmly and absolutely believe that God does not want us to suffer, but wants us to live abundant lives. While we all will experience some pain on our life journeys, becoming entrenched in suffering is not honoring God and it is not living abundantly. So my hope for you is that as you read how the saints used their suffering, you will discover, not just words of spiritual consolation, but genuine, practical measures that you can use in your daily life in order to eliminate unnecessary pain and to claim the abundant life God has promised each one of us. After all, this life in the “vale of tears” may not always be easy, but it is always good!