My toddler comes shuffling in my room on Monday morning. One eye is still closed, the other barely peeking open, as if she’s unsure she wants to meet the day ahead of her. I’m in my bed, hiding under blankets, attempting to get as much work done as possible before the sun rises. Without a word between us, I set my computer aside and reach my arms out for her. She reaches back, and I pull her into my lap for a morning snuggle. We sat there for a few minutes, me gently stroking her hair, still not a word was spoken.
She turns to look at me and with pleading eyes, says, “Make breakfast mommy?”
Except it doesn’t come out in her normal squeaky voice. Rather, it is a gruff, cracked version of her with a fit of coughing that follows. I know immediately that she won’t be going to school today. Suddenly the delicate thread that brought the plans for my day together gets pulled and the unraveling begins.
The thing is, my days have been unraveled time and time again for weeks now, maybe even months. This is why I get up at 5:15 a.m. most days. If nothing else, at least I’ve got a shred of my day I can control before 7 a.m. Sadly my head and my heart can only take so much unraveling though. I crave any sense of stability and routine. However, it has been slowly chipped away for years now. I have a planner, but honestly I am not sure why. No week goes as it is written down in there. It seems I’m constantly “rolling with the punches.”
An unfortunate side effect of a build up like this is hardened bitterness. I want so desperately for things to go as I planned them to. I want predictability and control over my time. I want to finally get done what needs to be done without being interrupted. When I want and expect things like this it is easy to go down the spiral of thought that everything is hard and will not get better.
However, through a series of gracious moments, God has reminded me that none of these little plan changes matter, but rather all that does is a consistent rhythm of being present and grateful. It’s been in sermons, in podcasts, in seeing others I know suffer tragedy, in the sky, in my kids’ smiles, and even in an Instagram caption. I see it, the deep need to connect to gratitude and hope in every moment. Even when our days are derailed and our plans, big and small, are dashed. Turning our minds and hearts toward gratitude stirs up hope in ways I cannot explain.
I realize this may sound trite. I would have certainly thought so at different points in my own life. The reality of our world, though, is that we have to do things to focus on that which brings gratitude or hope. We may be surrounded by brokenness, but God doesn’t ask us to focus on the darkness. Rather, we are asked to turn toward and follow the light. I like to think of gratitude as a light that leads me to where and who I want to be. Perhaps, for you, it can be the same, just follow the light.