"Let the gratefulness overflow into blessing all around you. Then, it will be a really good day." Louie Schwartzberg
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Gathering the Pieces of a Broken Empty Cup: Gratitude

posted by Susan Dominikovich on ,

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In my previous post I mentioned the storm of a few months ago.  Without going into detail at this point, suffice it to say enough stuff happened to drain my cup completely.  In fact, there were times I think my cup was taken from me, chipped and cracked and stood on.  It was broken into little pieces but not quite smashed to smithereens.  Thankfully, I found strategies (or more to the point, God steered me towards what I needed for such a time as this) which helped me.  Helped me to pick up the broken pieces of my cup.  Helped me to put the pieces back together.  Helped me to put glue and fresh paint on all the cracks.  And, unbelievably, helped me by filling my cup back up again.  Filled with good stuff, the stuff of life.  Beautiful things.

I referred to these books as treasures in order to explain why they take pride of place on my now clutter-free desk.  These are some of my cup menders, my cup filler-uppers.  When our cup is empty and trodden on and we feel like we're being beaten from every side, up and down, we need something to hold on.  Something concrete.  Our faith in Jesus is real, but sometimes we need things that remind us of how practical He can be in our lives.  That He is in fact something (someone) we can hold on to.  Jesus is concrete.  I just needed a little help in finding Him again.

So the first thing I should have turned to was my Bible.  But I had been so out of the habit, I couldn't see it; I couldn't reach it.  I had been in a season of self-sufficiency for 11 years, having raised four children at home including a set of twins.  Old habits are hard to break, especially when you have spent so many years self-justifying that "it's a season; just go with it."  If I hear those words again I'll remind the teller, yes, but seasons have to end.  So my first port of call was the Internet.  Naturally.  Isn't that where we find the solutions to all that ails of us?  How many of us have had a mild medical symptom and then diagnosed ourselves with something truly hideous because "medicaladvice.com" said it was so?  But God can work through our blindness and steer us in the right direction.  TED talks.  Especially the annointed ones.  And that's where I found Louie Schwartzberg's beautiful work on Gratitude.  which is definitely an annointed message.  He opened my eyes to things I used to marvel at and appreciate but have since taken for granted. In doing so, I learned to be grateful again.

Gratitude was the starting point for my cup-mending.  I began the discipline of looking at things with fresh eyes again, eyes that weren't clouded by hurt and frustration.  I didn't just notice the deep blue of my summer hydrangeas in January.  I stopped and looked.  I mean really looked.  I marvelled.  And I started to write.  I kept a journal of all the things I found I was grateful for that summer.  Beautiful things.  I learned to be grateful again for my twins' sunny laughter, which did not diminish even in the darkest days.  I learned to be grateful for silvery dry grass blowing up a hill in the summer wind.  I learned to be grateful for a sky so blue it hurt my eyes.  For a river wending its way through mighty limestone cliffs.  Sun so hot, glistening bodies in river water so warm.  Laughing souls.  Movies like Lord of the Rings and characters like Samwise Gamgee who reminded me "that there's some good in this world... and it's worth fighting for."  Music and songs that told me "These days of dust/Which we have known/Will blow away with this new sun."  Friends who loved and supported me unconditionally.  My beloved who never let me down.  And never will because he is that sort of man.  A man who has never lost sight of the "goal to win the prize for which God has called him heavenward in Christ Jesus" (Phillipian 3:14), just like his namesake.  It was a long hard road but I learned to be grateful again and that gratitude helped me to gather up the pieces of my broken cup and start to put them back together again.  My journey of re-discovering beautiful things--the stuff of life--had begun.

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