Last month, I sat with my oldest daughter in the oncology clinic
at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles. As I looked around at the children
with cancer, my heart broke. I could have asked God why I had to be
there with my daughter, who has Hermansky-Pudlak Syndrome.
Instead, I thanked God that she did not have leukemia. I put my
life in perspective. Our gratitude depends on perspective.
I know there are those who suffer with terrible trials in their
lives. But I believe we must try to see some good in anything that
happens to us. It is the only way to survive. It is the only way to
keep our families going.
When my daughter was diagnosed with her illness, I learned to
appreciate her so much more. Our time together with our families is
precious. While we might experience hard seasons, there is always
someone who suffers more. As families, I believe it is imperative for
us to be thankful for all we have. Most of us have suffered trials of
many kinds. But isn’t there always something to be grateful for? As
we look around our community, we may see others who have better cars,
a bigger home, a more appealing job and perhaps what seems to be a
But as I curl up in my soft bed or drive around in my
air-conditioned van, I think of those all over the world who sleep on
the ground. Their children are starving. I then have to thank God
that I live in America, have a husband I adore, and children I love.
God is good. I have food on my table and shelter. Even though I
struggle with some health issues, as does my daughter, I can thank
God for another day to enjoy my family. Gratitude truly takes
Life is a blessing. Our families are a blessing. Every day that we
have life and air to breath is another day to hope and be thankful. I
have struggled through many seasons where I wish I had more, wished
family life was easier, and dreamed the years of raising active
toddlers away because I was tired. I now thank God for each day he
gives me. Each moment, I look for the beauty in life.
Raising a family can be hard work, but God wants to bless us in
such. Do we want to waste our lives away coveting what others have?
Or do we want to cherish each moment -- full of gratitude? I choose
the latter. Do we want to grumble about that which we do not have and
be remembered as a complainer; an ungrateful person?
Let us learn a lesson from Doubting Thomas. How many of us
remember this disciple of Jesus? What do you remember him for? Most
of us would say we remember him as a doubter. But Thomas did great
things in his day -- he was capable of devotion and courage.
Yet this negative characteristic stands out in history as who he
was. Let’s not drown the beauty of that which we should be grateful
for by coveting that which we would like to change.
Are you known as an Ungrateful Annie? Perhaps a Coveting Tom? Are
you an unthankful parent or spouse?
Sometimes God has to shake us up and change our perspective in
order for us to be grateful. I used to grumble inside about what I
did not have. God bringing a trial into my life changed all that. I
now thank him daily for all I have, for truly I am blessed to
experience life this very day.
What does the art of gratitude take? It starts with verbalizing
our gratitude to God through prayer. It takes changing our heart to
truly appreciate all we have. It requires being thankful for living
in America, having a house to sleep in, and having family members.
Let’s show our gratitude to God and teach our children to be
grateful. After all, we have so very much.
* THE REV. KIMBERLIE ZAKARIAN’S column runs alternating Fridays.
Contact her by e-mail at HolyHouse9@ aol.com; or by mail at Holy
House Ministries c/o the Rev. Kimberlie Zakarian, 9641 Tujunga
Canyon Blvd., Tujunga, CA 91042.