Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations Psalm 100:4-5
Yesterday, I saw the hand doctor for the first time since my surgery. He determined my hand is healing well and was pleased with my pain tolerance. The stitches and staples were removed (interesting fact, my hand needed more staples than my knee replacement!). I do not need the cast anymore and instead wear a brace. While the brace is smaller and lighter than the cast and I can take it off for a shower, it is still cumbersome and prevents me from doing a lot of things. I still cannot wash dishes or carry anything heavier than two pounds. I can’t walk the dog or type. I can’t put my hair in a ponytail. It bothers me when I sleep and rubs my skin. My fingers still swell from the compression. But, my attitude immediately improved. I waved my hand to show my family, posted on Facebook and danced out of the office. I have hope that this situation is temporary. That the future will be better. So much hope that the conversation between me and the doctor went like this:
Me: when can I go back to work? DR: next week.
Me: when can I drive? DR: one more week.
Me: when can I ride my bike? DR: when you can make a fist.
Me: when can I go kayaking? DR: let’s take it easy, ok?
I crack up when I think about how he responded to my enthusiasm, but truth is, until the cast came off, I was in a funk, sure I would be out of work, dependent on my husband for a long, long time. Removal of the cast let me envision a future with a healthy hand. A future pain free. It showed me how far I had come so I choose gratefulness over resentment. Gratefulness is necessary for hope. Gratefulness gives birth to hope when we recognize that change is possible. I will not always be as I am right now. Life will never be perfect, but it will not always be this hard. Something better waits. Recently, someone told me that they wished Thanksgiving and Christmas were farther apart. “Too much celebrating close together.” I think it is not only important to count our blessings before we begin to ask for more, but to pause and think about the triumphs and the trials of the last year. We should be grateful for where we were, where we are and what we learned in the process. As one of my favorite Thanksgiving decorations says, “There is always something to be thankful for”. Thanksgiving should come before Christmas because Christmas is about hope. Hope for tomorrow; hope for yesterday; hope for today. So, before you take down the turkeys and pumpkins, before you pull the Christmas tree from the attic, make a list. Not a list for Santa Claus but a list of ways God has blessed you and carried you through this year. Then, let gratefulness fill your heart with hope.