Today I join the Gypsy Mama for Five Minute Friday with the prompt, Grateful.  Writing briefly from the overflow of the heart. For fun, for love of the sound of words, for play, for delight, for joy and celebration at the art of communication.

For only five short, bold, beautiful minutes. Unscripted and unedited. We just write without worrying if it’s just right or not.  Won’t you join us?

I climb in the car for my fourth trip to the grocery store. My throat feels tight, I am losing my voice, my son lays in bed with a fever, my aunt calls to say they are stuck in a weather pattern and can’t get here for Thanksgiving, and I am still thinking about that veterinarian telling me yesterday that my dog has to have his eye taken out. 

And I talk to God.  Say that I thought Thanksgiving would be different and I ask him to help me give thanks in the midst of the unperfect.  Give my expectations a work over so I can live in expectancy. Because I don’t want these circumstances to dictate the joy meter of the day.  He gives joy, circumstances don’t give joy.

As I check out at the grocery store, I say to the man bagging my groceries, “I haven’t seen you in awhile where have you been?”  He pushes my cart out to the parking lot and tells me his wife has stage four cancer and they live almost three hours away. 

How they had to get a place up there so she can get treatments. They live in two places to do life, when life cracks open the hard places. He gives me his address on the back of my grocery list so we can keep in touch and I tell him I will pray.

I climb into my car and sit in the silence of the idle for a moment. Because God answers my prayer right there in the parking lot in a short conversation with the bag boy.  I could be that man’s wife fighting for life.  I realize that things could be worse, pray for them and offer thanks.

On the road, emergency vehicles block the way home. An accident and I see kids sitting in disappointment, shards of glass, crushed metal.

It could be worse. I pray God’s mercy on those I pass by, thank Him again.

And I am grateful.  That He shows me how to see so I can give thanks.  Give thanks for a grocery store to buy food, for full refrigerators, for an aunt and uncle that arrive home safe, medicine for fevers and stuffy noses and sore throats, for windows open and warm sunshine on Thanksgiving. For friends that gather around the Thanksgiving Day table and give thanks for lives well lived in storytelling that make us laugh.

Today I am grateful for the One who is true fulfillment.  For Christ who empowers us to live beyond circumstances.