It's funny how things happen. I was thinking about that this morning when I sat down in my comfy desk chair. And I thanked God for it.
A couple of years ago, my trusty old desk chair gave up. I had fixed it over and over again but finally it was just beyond repair. A day or two later, I stopped by a local business to visit a friend I hadn't spoken to in a few weeks. As soon as she saw me, she said, "I don't suppose you need a desk chair?" I did, of course. It turns out that only an hour before I arrived, someone had dropped off a sturdy used chair that just wanted a bit of cleaning. It was beautifully blue, and it was much better than the chair that had broken. A perfect choice. I was grateful.
Every time I pack eBay shipments, I'm grateful, too. The other day I had to pack breakable stuff. But I wasn't worried--I had lots of bubblewrap and bubble bags to choose from. I also had a variety of boxes in lots of sizes. (Okay, maybe my packing materials are a little out of control because I haven't figured out how best to organize them yet but I'm working on it.) The reason I'm able to pack shipments nicely is that people save their leftovers for me--like the industrial-sized bag of packing peanuts that a neighbor left on my porch. I love this kind of "hand-me-over"! It's really a blessing that others remember me this way.
I was especially blessed and especially grateful last week when another church member and I were surprised with the gift of canned and boxed foods that came from the kitchen of someone who was moving out of town. My nearly-empty pantry was, quite literally, filled. Later I was also given lightbulbs and cleaning supplies and more. It was all in such quantity that I was stunned. How is it possible to say thank you for such bounty?
Perhaps the best way to say thank you is just to share what you have, too. Beyond being grateful for what I receive, I'm grateful for being able to give, too. It's a gift to be able to give. None of it would be possible without God's goodness. I know He is watching out for me--hey, I've got the perfect desk chair, stacks of packing materials, and a full pantry as proof!
It is funny how things happen (like the timing of that desk chair) but I don't think it's a coincidence. I believe that answers to prayer are all around us; we just have to watch and listen. And I believe that we can be the answer to the prayers of others. People in need are all around us, and the need isn't always for tangible goods. Especially during the holiday season, the things that people need most are a simple smile, a listening ear, a kind gesture, patience, courtesy. It is so easy to give such things but yet so easy to forget to do.
When you're feeling rushed and cross, look at the person closest to you. He or she is also likely to feel the same. This is especially true for those standing in line at the store. Step aside; let that person go first; share the greetings of the season or just listen to what they have to say. It's a small thing but it makes a big difference, and it may help that person to help someone else. And it will bring peace to you, too--something more to be grateful for.
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above,
and cometh down from the Father of lights,
with whom is no variableness,
neither shadow of turning.