I am many things. One of those things is a math tutor, and another is a person who offers encouragement. Generally, when we count items, we tend to count them one by one. But if there are a lot of things to count, we might count them by twos or fives, or even more.
But what about when we count our blessings? When I count my blessings, sometimes I break them into categories. For instance, I might say I am grateful for my relatives. I count the blessings of my relatives and friends. Then I might say my cousins, and reflect upon them by sub-groups. For example, the children of this aunt, or that uncle. I might do the same thing with my friends, and break them into where or when we became friends. Or I might break them into my closest friends,my ya-yas, and reflect upon that by how very much we have shared over the years.
I might think about the blessings of challenges I have faced, or events that gave me a lifeline to God. You see, there are many ways that I come up with what my blessings are on a given day. I think that is because there have been so many blessings (obvious and more hidden) over the years. I have said many times that I am blessed beyond measure. That becomes so very obvious when I try to count my blessings. To count them one by one is a process that is even more mindful than the count by category way I mentioned.
Let’s look at it this way. Our lives are like a library full of books. Each blessing is a solitary volume. So to count or reflect upon our blessings one by one would involve time and reflection. In my life-library, that means to start at the first shelf of books. Take the book on the left hand side of the top shelf off of the shelf. Sit down, and read the book, taking time to really reflect upon each page, and being grateful for that book/person/blessing. Then, I would get back up, re-shelf that book, take the next volume off the shelf, and repeat the process. Continuing this process, counting the blessings one by one would mean to do the same thing with every book in the library. Of course, the more grateful you become, the more books appear in this life-library.
Did you and books become friends as a child? If so, you will remember feeling overjoyed to be in a library with a world of books awaiting you. That is the feeling we can create within ourselves by counting our blessings. In our life-library, if we do this, perhaps we will be less and less downhearted if some of the books we expected to be there are not there.
I remember my dad telling me that when he lived in a small town in Iowa, he decided he was going to try to read every book in his town library. He knew it would be a big undertaking, but he was making progress. He was an avid reader. Then his family moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota. When he went to that library, he realized there would entail a lot more books. He was undeterred. Throughout my life he was always reading multiple books at the same time.
So I think in counting our blessings, it would be a wonderful thing to ponder each blessing one at a time, for as long as it takes to read an entire book. Then do the same thing for the next blessing. If each blessing was put in a card catalog, what would the subject card say? How about the author card? How about the title card? Isn’t that cool to think about?
I guess these days you might say what would the categories and tags say for each of your blessings?
You see, summer makes me think of the glorious library days when I was a kid. The world was my oyster, and the library was an earthly heaven. I loved that feeling. The feeling of immersing myself is joy is not so automatic these days, as sometimes I feel careworn. But that in turn means that I need to figuratively flop on my belly in a shaded back yard, and just reflect.
I hope that today reminds you of some of your most cherished blessings. I am going to try carefully looking at as many blessings today—one at a time.