Written by: Charlotte Fishback
He looked me square in the eye and said, “consider it a sacrifice play.”
You know how it is. Late nights with kids equals early morning nightmares! I should have remembered this! However, at some point, it seemed like a great idea to let the kids stay up just a little later than usual. The morning that followed was stressful and a little crazy! I rushed through our morning routine, getting lunches made, kids dressed, and ready for school, and out the door before 8:00 am!
As I hurried my daughter into the car, my son, Andrew, said he was going to walk to school instead of coming with us like he normally does. On my way back from dropping off Ally, the traffic was terrible! I began to get angry that I missed the window of time to pick up my coffee and resigned myself to the fact I was going to make it on my zoom call “just in time.” It was then I saw, out of the corner of my eye, Andrew.
Andrew was sauntering his way to school. “Good grief,” I thought! He had 6 minutes to get to school, and I knew he wasn’t going to make it! I pulled up beside him, “Andrew, what are you doing?” I yelled out the window, his response – “walking to school.” “No kidding, get in!” I responded. He knew I wasn’t happy! Out of my frustration, I said, “Now I’m going to be late for work.” With a straight face, he looked at me and responded, “consider it a sacrifice play.”
Andrew is a baseball player, and in baseball, a Sacrifice Play is when a batter hits a fly-ball out to the outfield or foul territory, sacrificing their time at-bat to help their team score a run. Little did I know baseball would lead to a valuable lesson out of the mouth of my son.
Andrew is 14 years old, and in his mind, he was saying thank you for the ride! Baseball is his love and passion right now, pointing out the connection of the sacrifice play he was giving thanks, in a roundabout way! But he was thankful for the ride! I, on the other hand, was frustrated! With my best intentions and time management, I didn’t get to my Zoom meeting on time!
Being thankful isn’t always that easy! Giving thanks for a drive to school when you are 14 is a whole lot different than giving thanks during one of the most intense storms of your life when you are an adult.
I’m sure it could be unfathomable to understand how someone could have a grateful spirit while enduring loss, sadness, depression, grief, loneliness. However, a verse in the Bible came to mind. I learned it as a child during Sunday School. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6
There is no denying there are times we do not feel in the mood or feel very thankful. I would much rather sit on the couch and feel sorry for myself. Psalms 7:17 says, “I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness; I will sing the praises of the name of the Lord Most High.” Nowhere does it say, I will give thanks when I feel like it. Nowhere in that verse does it link any specific emotion to giving thanks for something. Instead, it says, give.
Give is a verb. It’s a call to action. It’s a step we have to choose to take. It’s a choice to say thanks. However, we can be assured that when we give thanks, our perspective shifts, and we can see the good in most things.
The Bible has many examples where Jesus said thanks, and then a miracle occurred. Jesus said thanks, and his friend Lazarus rose from the dead! Before Jesus fed 5000 people with only five loaves of bread and two fish, He gave thanks. It was a miracle that everyone ate as much as they wanted, and no one left hungry. It says in Matthew, one of the Gospels, that there were 12 baskets of leftovers.
My life hasn’t been easy. I would love to say it has been a fairy tale life full of rainbows, fairies and unicorns! I cling to the verse 1 John 3:1, “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!”
He loves us so much and is with us through everything we go through. When I came to understand this, I realized I lacked nothing. I could walk in confidence that He has me and you in the palm of his hand. I realized he was my provider and was supplying all my needs. Again and again, he has proven He will provide for me day-to-day for which I need to give thanks and be grateful.
So how do we give thanks or show our gratitude? Perhaps it’s taking pictures and keeping them in an album on our camera on our phone to remind us of His faithfulness. Maybe it’s singing or humming along with your favourite worship song. It could be writing in a Gratitude Journal where you write down 1-3 things you are thankful for each day or week. Maybe it’s sharing with a friend what the Lord is doing in your life that encourages you to take just one more little step. (I can admit, there have been days my journal says, “I’m thankful I took a breath today.”) Maybe it’s writing a thank you note or card to someone who unknowingly encouraged you or brought joy into your life. It could even be using your talents and abilities to honour Him and give someone hope.
If I’m honest, I may never be thankful for what I am currently walking through today. I do wish things were different. But I am forever grateful that I’m walking through this with the Lord. He promises he will never leave us or forsake us. (Deuteronomy 31:6) We know our sufferings produce perseverance, character, and hope. (Romans 5: 3-4) We also know, where there is gratitude, you will also find joy and hope.
When Andrew got out of the car that morning, he turned and smiled. My gratitude journal reads, “I’m thankful for time in the car with my cheeky kid and the coffee I never got.”
I will forever be grateful for the detour driving Andrew to school that made me late for my meeting. Through the lens of my son and his version of a sacrifice play, I received one of the most powerful lessons about gratitude.