Learning how to say Thanks.

Aaron and I went out on a date last night and ended up finding this cafe in downtown Healdsburg. It was freezing and I really just wanted some hot soup. We drove around, parked, then stumbled into the low lit and empty cafe on the corner and were relieved to find that it was open. We saw some couches in the corner and the nice hippie guy let us sit down with our menus. Soup was at the top and it looked delicious!

Last Thursday was Thanksgiving, for those of you who missed out on that news. We went and spent it with family and it was really nice. Luckily, we didn't go around the table and say what we were thankful for because that's so awkward, and really, everyone just wants to eat anyway. We played football with the kids and launched rockets that scared our dog half to death, and we finished up the dinner with pumpkin pie and charades. A good day.

We were pretty tired after all the festivities and decided to drive back home the next morning, and get a little relaxation time before the kids came back. Feeling really lazy on Saturday morning, we threw on semi-church clothes (I still wore my house slippers), and walked across the street to church to see if anyone showed up. There was a small gathering of faculty families and we studied about the 10 lepers in Luke and how only one actually came back to say thanks to Jesus. I was really struck by the other guys' sense of entitlement. Like Jesus was just a can of miracles, and all they had to do was pop it open and redeem their prize, and then just keep going about their business. But the last guy's heart was stirred in a way that he couldn't keep still and was just uncontrollably overwhelmed with a sense of thanksgiving and amazement that he jumped for joy and fell at the feet of Jesus and said Thank You a million times over.

I totally feel like those 9 guys, most days. I feel really entitled to all these "blessings" I even have to put quotes around blessings because honestly, it seems like a stretch to call every day things that I am authentically entitled to, "blessings". And what's wrong with this? Why should I have to be thankful for a hot shower, a warm bed, a loving husband, or a nice home? Didn't I work for these things? Don't I deserve this after all I've done?

The answer, of course, is yes-I sure do need to be thankful for this stuff! It gets so easy to complain about all the stuff going wrong in my life that I miss out on savoring the good stuff. Which brings me back to the Cafe Gratitude place. The whole theme of the place is thankfulness, and recognizing all the ways that you are blessed. There's even a box of questions on every table that asks insightful things like, "How do you take care of your body?", "Name three people who have been there for you in the past year", and "What are some things that you have that you don't deserve?"...etc. And as strange and slightly cheesy as it was, it did make us very grateful at the time, especially for the surprise that the soup came out cold, and we figured out that this cafe was one of those raw restaurants. But instead of grumbling, the theme had already set into our bones and we devoured our cold buckwheat-crusted "pizza" topped with pesto, tomato and cashew ricotta. Instead of feeling gypped for not getting hot greasy food, we kept exclaiming how healthy we felt after eating each bite.

Here's just a short list of things I'm saying Thank You for:

-healthy and loving family
-that Aaron comes from such a great family
-we are really happy here
-we love our jobs
-we get paid to love people
-we get to go home for Christmas
-we don't have immediate uncertainty about anything (which is how we've lived for the past 3 years)
-we have a warm bed, hot shower, cute dog, piano, tv, food
-we live in a beautiful place
-we have people who regularly encourage and support us
=facebook. i'm really thankful for facebook!
-we have health insurance
-we are led and loved by God-and that is all we need


jenn said...

So I was actually in Healdsburg a couple of years back with my then boyfriend and him and I were super hungry for dinner. He was allergic to dairy and was vegetarian so the options were super limited. We stopped and ate at Cafe Gratitude and I must say, that little place is such a wonderful little treat. I left there feeling guilt free oh what I ate... and it was delicious!

Thanks for reminding me about being thankful. I led out a sabbath school two weekends ago and it was about prayer and the main kind of prayer we as humans forget to make is a thanksgiving one. It is so easy to get caught in asking our God what we are in need of and to be selfish about our needs and only ask and ask like he is our Sugar daddy- which He doesnt mind! He asks us to ask of Him. But, being thankful is something that doesnt come as easy. Why? I guess we'll never know. But thanks for the reminder. I am thankful for you, Rika :)

laSonya said...

Thanks for this great post. I like how you connected the thankfulness with the 10 lepers.

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