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home : features : faith May 26, 2016

5/3/2013 6:00:00 AM
Gratitude in adversity

Dianne Wilson

A second look could reveal a few flowers through the thorns of adversity. Nine-year-old Emily grew up just a little more that day, the day of the accident.

"Mommy! Mommy! What happened?" she cried, once the car stopped spinning and flipping onto one side, then the other, slapping Emily's little head onto the muddy grass through the open window.

Only the night before, Emily had shaken with fright when thunder and lightning crashed and danced around and around the house. We, therefore, had asked God to sprinkle angel dust all over Emily and to keep her in His care.

Surely He answered with an unequivocal "Yes," because the very next morning found Emily and Mommy walking away from a wreck that totaled their car with only minor injuries.

I noticed a little more responsibility in Emily's care of the dogs that afternoon, and she seemed a little more loving toward her family. And as she bounded out to play, Emily said of her big brother, "When Patrick comes home, tell him I love him." She turned to me and blew a kiss so sweet as to burrow her little being even deeper into my heart.

"Father, thank you for our miracle, and please forgive how we take for granted the blessedness of life," said Mommy at dinnertime grace. Emily and Patrick watched their mom walk through the challenging days ahead in peace and perseverance - days fraught with physical soreness, long workdays, insurance negotiations, and car hunting, while each new dawn rendered freshness in their awe of the miracle. Even 14-year-old Patrick seemed a bit more loving toward his mom and little sister, having recognized how close he came to the possibility of losing them.

In the Book of Job from the Holy Bible, we find a man suffering from adversity in the extreme, and seemingly with no end in sight. In spite of this, he chastised his complaining wife for expecting only good things in life. It was through adversity that my daughter's little family was reminded of the value and the fragility of human life. The priorities that many of us often struggle to keep in their places became perfectly ordered that day, and as yet, through unnumbered days that have followed.

What, if anything, have I recently taken for granted?

What might it take to gain a realistic and well-ordered perception of the value of my life and the lives of others?

Shall I thank God for breath, sight, hearing, limbs, hands, feet, love, and laughter?

Why not?

Lord, today I choose to make a very long gratitude list, especially in the face of adversity.

Adapted from "Finding the Flowers in a Prickly World" by Dianne Finnegan Wilson. You may email Ms. Wilson by visiting

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