I lead a pretty boring life. My idea of a good time is sitting in the garage, sipping a beer, and watching a rain storm approach. This is because we are in a drought and rainfall is such a blessing. In fact, the old hymn “Showers of Blessings” often comes to mind as I sit there watching the leaves of the trees dance about, smell the rainfall moving in, and then watch the droplets splatter on the pavement.
And I do thank the good Lord for rain…and for many other simple things in life which so often I’ve taken for granted. I try to be more attentive, i.e. “mindful” of my world and often offer casual prayers of gratitude for things as simple as the mere breath of life.
Early this morning as I watched rainfall move in…this time with coffee in hand…I imagined how it might have been in eons past when our predecessors first began to attribute “blessings” such as rainfall to what would come to be known as “the gods” and eventually…in our culture…”God.” The notion must have percolated for hundreds of years, at least, in our dawning consciousness before it crystallized into a concept.
I guess that in spite of being a bona fide intellectual (pseudo perhaps!) and often looking askance at religious dogma, I am now following the biblical admonishment to “In all things give thanks.” Now why do I do this? I no longer believe that I am picking up any brownie points with God for “praising Him” or “thanking Him.” I mean, He is a really big God and does not have such a frail ego that he needs me to fawn over him. He is not keeping a ledger and dutifully noting each time that “Lewie praised me” again!
So, why bother to “give thanks in all things”? Well, it just kind of flows out of my heart. It is kind of natural. And it is therapeutic. Rumi once noted that praise is the best antidote to despair. And I’ve learned that when despair does beckon, it does help to just turn my attention to some of the many things in life for which I am thankful.