A tramp’s lesson on being thankful
Andy (not his real name) tells his story:
I am 58. My life took a wrong turn. And it was my own fault. It’s not easy to start again. You have to have a lot of persistence and patience to do it. But with God in you, you can do it.
Because of my poor decisions, I ended up on the streets for two and a half years. Literally. I lived with the tramps. What I saw there was heart-breaking.
Fortunately, I did not end up in that cycle of drinking and forgetting everything. We ordinary people get angry when they beg simply to buy a half jack, but a day can become very long when the day has no prospects.
Just after I had to start living on the streets, it started raining one night like it was the great flood. I didn’t have blankets. I was wet through and through. Nobody wanted to help me, not the church, not even the people in my cell group. They didn’t even offer to help me.
Now the church has given me a room to stay in. I’ve been staying here for six months already and I’m working on my relationship with God. It’s not easy.
One thing about this journey is that I’ve learnt to be grateful for my bed, blankets, a pillow and a roof over my head. We ordinary people regard these things as a “must have”, part of our life entitlement. Thankfulness is a word we don’t rightly understand.
And how right Andy is. “Thankfulness is a word we don’t rightly understand.” We live a life where we take many things for granted. It must be like that.
Andy lost everything and ended up on street not even having a blanket or rain coat. He knows what it’s like to have nothing. That is why he knows about being grateful for the smallest thing.
When you sprain your finger, it hurts every time you want to touch or pick up something. Only then do you realise all that you do with your hands. Then you’re thankful to be able to use your hands. Must we first have an injury or, like Andy, lose everything to be grateful?
We have so much to be grateful for. For the grace of God who chose us to be his children. For being able to go to bed with a blanket and a pillow and a roof over our heads. Food to eat. Waking up in the morning and having a beating heart. To be able to breath and hear the birds sing. For family and friends.
And so we can go on and on.
Thankfulness should be the starting point of our lives. People that are driven by thankfulness live differently. They are positive and do not begrudge others a life. They look for places where they can share their gratitude and make a difference.
And obviously, 15… cultivate thankfulness.
Make a list of everything that you have to be thankful for.
Do you live thankfulness?
Father, thank you now seems too small and too short. But thank you for all that You give me. Amen.