Take your gift and say thanks

For many across the United States the winter of 2011 has been filled with surprises.  Falling temperatures, snow, and ice have pummeled nearly every part of the country.  Here in Dallas the weather plunged from highs in the seventies to lows in the teens with ice and then snow.

We complained about the uncharacteristically warm temperatures.  Then after days on end of ice and snow, others groused, “It’s beautiful, but enough.”

When I was tempted to join the chorus, I thought, “Take your gift and say thanks.”

We complain far too much.  There is nothing intrinsically wrong with desires and longing, ambition or progress.  But some elements of life just are what they are and almost nothing that needs to be changed yields to change over night.

The secret of life deeply and joyfully lived is just one that not only lives in the moment (as I so often hear people say).  The secret of life lived joyfully is life lived in the present with gratitude.

Take your gift and say thanks.

You will live with greater joy.  You will notice things for which to give thanks.  And change will not leave you struggling in quite the same way.

About Frederick Schmidt

The Reverend Dr. Frederick W. Schmidt, Jr. holds the Rueben P. Job Chair in Spiritual Formation at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, IL, and directs the Rueben Job Institute for Spiritual Formation. He is an Episcopal Priest, spiritual director, retreat facilitator, conference leader, writer, and consulting editor at Church Publishing in New York. He is the author of numerous published articles and reviews, as well as several books: A Still Small Voice: Women, Ordination and the Church (Syracuse University Press, 1998), The Changing Face of God (Morehouse, 2000), When Suffering Persists (Morehouse, 2001), in Italian translation: Sofferenza, All ricerca di una riposta (Torino: Claudiana, 2004), What God Wants for Your Life (Harper, 2005), Conversations with Scripture: Revelation (Morehouse, 2005), Conversations with Scripture: Luke (Morehouse, 2009), and The Dave Test (Abingdon, 2013). He and his wife, Natalie (who is also an academic and an Episcopal priest), live in Highland Park, Illinois, with their Gordon Setter, Hilda of Whitby. They have four children and four grandchildren: Henry, Addie, Heidi, and Sophie.


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