There are times when I wish God wasn’t quite so faithful in answering my prayers.
I thought about that the other day, shortly after reciting my morning prayer. It began, as it always does, with a verse from Psalm 51:
O Lord, open my lips. And my mouth will proclaim your praise!
Only on this particular morning, I happened to be sitting in the chair of a surgery suite – awaiting a dermatological procedure…where? On my upper lip, of course!
I got what I asked for that morning, and then some: An open lip…and stitches…and swelling to beat the band. Afterwards, my first instinct was to ‘carry on’. They did call it ‘ambulatory surgery’ after all.
Soon enough, though, I noticed that every toddler I encountered was stopping to stare…so I’ve pretty much been hunkered down at home ever since.
Is it the right call? You be the judge.
My somewhat-unexpected downtime turned into a deeper blessing, though, when I recalled the second part of the antiphon from my morning prayer and recognized that I had some extra time for thanksgiving and praise.
Soon enough, my heart was filled with gratitude – for the gift of a skilled surgeon and a caring staff; for a wife and family and friends, all praying for my recovery; for a job with flexible hours that allows me the luxury of a leisurely recuperation; for blessings beyond measure, poured out every single day – goodness so plentiful that I often fail to notice it in the ordinary rhythms, my everyday comings and goings.
So it’s a good thing, I realized, that I had a unique setting in which to say my morning prayer the other day.
It’s a good thing, too, that we have this day – Thanksgiving Day – set aside for us to take notice of God’s prodigal nature.
So before we dig in to the turkey and all the fixins’…let’s take a moment for gratitude and praise, saying along with the Psalmist:
I will give thanks to you, O Lord, with all of my heart,
For you have heard the words of my mouth;
In the presence of the angels, I will sing your praise;
I will worship at your holy temple.
I will give thanks to you because of your kindness and truth.
When I called, you answered me;
You built up strength within me.
Let us pause now…to recall that we are in the presence of the Holy One.