Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The Blessing Basket

One year just before Christmas my husband and I faced a number of hardships all at once: financial problems, strained relationships, and health challenges. I felt despairing of ever having peace again.
Then unexpectedly we met a woman who shared with us an idea that changed our lives. "If you want to find contentment and peace," she said, "focus on what you have to be grateful for. Write down your blessings on slips of paper and put them in a little basket. Soon it will be full to overflowing. From time to time look at what you wrote. You will be surprised at how the things that plague you now will be begin to clear up..."
We looked at each other and knew immediately this was something we had to try. We bought a small basket, labeled it: "Our Blessing Basket" and set it on a table where it would be accessible night or day. And we made it easy to use by putting a small pad of paper and a pen beside it.
By November, just as the woman had promised, our basket was "full to overflowing." On Thanksgiving morning we propped ourselves up in bed and dumped the basket upside down on the quilt. It seemed a fitting
day to review and give thanks for our many blessings.
"You go first," my husband said. So I grabbed one slip and read it aloud, then another and another. What a joy it was to read and experience these gifts all over again. A surprise visit from a dear friend my husband hadn't seen in over thirty years. A special walk 'n' talk we'd shared on the beach one morning. The safe arrival of a new grandchild. A wonderful mule pack trip in the Sierra Mountains. A book proposal accepted. An old hurt healed through patience and prayer. A misunderstanding with a co-worker cleared up. And on and on I read.
Then my husband grabbed a handful and continued. By the time we got to the last scrap of paper we were in tears. How could we ever again doubt that God provides for our every need!
A simple tool--the blessing basket. A powerful concept--giving thanks. What a different world we would live in if each of us turned our hearts toward gratitude--by creating and using a Blessing Basket!