As Linda Leigh sipped her morning coffee, she became increasingly aware of the birds that flew to and from the feeders outside the screened-in porch where she was sitting.
Unlike her, they seemed to be unaffected by the chilly air. They conversed with each other as happily as they had on spring mornings and balmy summer evenings when she’d listened to them as she’d sat alone in her favorite chair on the porch and sipped her hazlenut-flavored coffee.
As she enjoyed the sight and sounds of the birds, the words to a simple blessing she’d said with her third-grade students many years ago popped into her mind.
“Thank You for the world so sweet. Thank You for the food we eat. Thank You for the birds that sing. Thank You, God, for everything.”
Surprised by those long-forgotten words, Linda Leigh whispered them aloud—and realized, for the first time in over 30 years, that she felt truly thankful. With pleasure she noted that the feeling warmed her cold heart even more than the hot coffee warmed her chilly body.
Clasping the hot mug, she mused, Is it possible to give thanks for everything?
Her first response was Absolutely not! I will never be able to give thanks for the horrible things I’ve been through. Never! Never!
But as she listened to the birds, she reflected on how they chirped happily in stinging cold or sizzling heat, in pouring rain or in dazzling sunshine.
She, on the other hand, had let circumstances snatch her song from her. But as she listened to their songs and watched the energetic actions of the Chickadees, the Nuthatches, the Finches, and other birds as they flew from feeders to trees, she wondered, Will I ever be able to recapture the joy I’ve lost?
O how she wanted to feel happy and purposeful again instead of angry over and defeated by the hard blows she’d sustained. So, taking another sip of coffee, she whispered, “Thank You, God, for the warmth I feel.”
As she sat there, she spoke yet another small thanksgiving. “Thank You, God, for these quiet moments to linger here before I meet with the oncologist.”
Realizing it was time to go, she stood—and was surprised once again to hear herself whisper, “Thank You, God, for strength to stand.”
The following morning when she was sitting on her porch and sipping her coffee, her friend Marie stopped by to check on her. Linda Lee said, “Pour a cup of coffee and come out here. I have something to tell you.”
As Marie seated herself, Linda Leigh said, “The strangest thing happened to me yesterday.” After telling Marie about the blessing that had popped into her mind and how she’d surprised herself as she’d begun to whisper one-sentence thanksgivings, Linda Leigh said, “And I couldn’t stop! Throughout the day, I said things like, “Thank You, God, that I can see and smell. And hear. And taste. And feel. And Thank You, God, for money to buy the things I need.”
As sentence after sentence spilled out of her mouth, Linda Leigh noticed Marie was smiling at her.
“What?” she asked.
“I think the ice around your heart is melting,” Marie said softly.
“I believe it is!” Linda Leigh said. “I still can’t thank God for everything He’s allowed to come my way, but I can thank Him for the things He’s given me that help me get through the tough times.”
Smiling, she whispered, “Thank You, God, for a friend like Marie.”