I woke up this morning. I could have instead been meeting my Maker, sautéing like a piece of human bacon in the eternal frying pan or dancing with angels. You must have woken too or you wouldn’t be reading this. Have you ever put much thought in that?

Waking up in the morning is not even in our control, although where we wake up generally is.

For most of my life I would say it’s been no more than a glimpse of a thought that quickly whirled past when something more important, like chocolate, came to mind. Sure, after a couple of the “big scary life things” like brain surgery and being hit by a car motivated me to ponder the reality momentarily, I sadly haven’t ever contemplated the subject in prayer.

That’s kind of tragic when you think about it. How many of us take stock of the sheer magnitude of blessings that fill every second of our daily existence? I have decided to do just that and I invite you to walk through a typical day with me and count the blessings.

Eyes open to welcome the morning, I can see and breathe. My head lays on soft pillows on a bed with sheets and blankets, in a room at a safe little place we call home. I rise to find the bathroom where I left it, hot and cold potable water at the twist of a handle, and a working sewer system. Can we say thank you Jesus? Can life get any better than that? Read on.

There are clothes in my closet that protect me from the elements and help me pretend to look passably fashionable. The lights work as electricity flows through the place keeping cold things cold, cooking possible, and technology devices powered.  Food, which seems to be in abundance, will maintain my fat reserves for years.

I can hear the radio, the traffic, and a cheery good morning from my husband. All senses are firing reminding me that even if it all ended today it is much more than I deserve or could ever repay. Pictures fill the walls and shelves reminding me of those human gifts God has brought into our life. We have been blessed with children and grandchildren, friends, and lots of experiences to capture on film. We’ve been blessed to live all over the world when Mark was in the military and travel to more places than most folks can only dream about. Broadening our view has allowed us to see the beauty of the planet, the people, and cultures that make up God’s family.

My prayer book comes monthly in the mail that is delivered down the street. Our trash and recycling is picked up weekly and our neighborhood is a safe, war-free zone. My vehicle takes me to mass where I am free to worship God and practice my faith without fear that I will be beheaded or tortured. If I need gas I pull into any one of the many stations within five minutes of my home.

I have a job, and am lucky enough to work in His vineyard meeting engaged couples and helping them come to know God and the meaning of selfless love. For this I get a humble paycheck which helps contribute to the luxuries mentioned above. I say luxuries because what we first world countries know as normal and expected is in fact an unknown luxury to the bulk of humanity. Seriously!

How is it that I experience this and others do not? I do not wonder where I will get my next meal, or where I can use the bathroom. I do not walk miles to carry wood to get warm or water that may or may not be drinkable. There are no bullets flying, roaming bands of marauders, or drone strikes that I should flee from. If I have a headache I can easily obtain an aspirin, a cut and I can grab a Band-Aid, an accident and immediate medical attention is a call away.

You get the picture.

What I am trying to convey is the reality that given all this, a complaint should never ever, ever leave my lips. Rather, abundant, never-ending songs of gratitude to God should fill the air.

When I go deeper and see the immensity of blessings poured out every day, I must look to God Almighty and in humble gratitude ask what I can do to make another’s life a blessing too. It is the ONLY acceptable response. “To whom much is given, much is expected.”

While I could fill pages with the many trials, sufferings, and painful experiences the Lord has seen fit to give me. In the end the blessings grossly outweigh them. So I conclude this little exercise by inviting you to do the same in your own life. Your perspective and appreciation should appropriately bring you to your knees in gratitude.

Barbara Lishko works full time as a Lay Catholic Marriage Minister. She and her husband Mark, an ordained Deacon, have been married for 35 years and are blessed with five young adult children, whose lives grow and expand through marriage and grandchildren.

Through the inspiration of her family, work in the Catholic Church and wacky life experiences her dream of writing was born. She is the recipient of the Diocese of Phoenix St Terese of Lisieux award. Barbara can be reached at blishko_58@yahoo.com

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  • Pax

    Thanks overflows it is something so deep and inestimable.
    Here is a contemplation I sometimes have.

    Thank God for my bowl of cereal,
    Thank God for the sun that grew the plant that is now my cereal,
    Thank God for the rain and fresh soil that nourished the plant.
    Thank God for the man who planted the plant,
    Thank God for the man who harvested the plant
    Thank God for the man who ground up the plant.
    Thank God for the men and the inginuity he gave them to make the machines
    the grind and harvest the plant.
    Thank God for the steel that was used to make the machines that harvest the plant.
    Thank God for the men who mined the iron, them men who smelted it and the men who fashioned it for the society able to create the factories where the machines were smelted.
    Thank God for the trucks that delivered the cereal to store so that I could buy it and the truck driver who drove the truck and the fuel that went into the truck and all of the men who built the truck and the factor the truck was built in.
    Thank God for the store the cereal was bought from.
    Thank God i had money to buy the cereal, the skill to earn the money, the education to earn the money , the opportunity to do the work using the education and skill to earn the money.

    Thank God for my breakfast.

    • Barbara Lishko

      Love it! That is a truly wonderful way to really back it up and realize the sheer gratitude we should endeavor to have even with a seemingly simple bowl of cereal…and one could do the same for the milk 🙂 Thanks for sharing