Ethan and I were sitting in the car, waiting for Jim to load the chair into the trunk.
It had been a wonderful afternoon of swimming at the pool.
"Mom, thanks for not letting me fall out of the lift today," Ethan said.
"What? In four years I have never let you fall out of the lift. I almost let you fall out of the lift one time, and now you are going to remember that one time instead of all the other times I didn't?"
We both laughed.
I knew he was kidding me about one day this summer, when I had almost let him fall from the pool lift as he was going into the water.
It still makes me kind of sick to my stomach to think about it.
It was a Sunday afternoon. There were lots of extra activities going on at the pool that day. Someone was sponsoring a party and the lifeguards had invited us to join them. Lots of grilled hot dogs and hamburgers and loud, loud music. I thought it was Lady Gaga, but Ethan corrected me and said it was Katie Perry.
We have a routine when we use the lift at the pool. We park Ethan's chair beside the lift, and Jim helps him to stand. Jim then gently slides Ethan over to the chair on the lift. While Jim waits in the pool for Ethan to be lowered into the water, I hold Ethan's shoulder with one hand to balance him, and I work the controls with the other. Like I said, we've done the same routine for years.
Usually the lifeguard parks the lift on the side of the pool but that day it was parked at the end, right in the corner of the pool.
Right when we were lowering Ethan into the water, My sister called and I thought I could talk to her, holding my phone between my shoulder and my ear, and do what I usually did with my two hands.
It didn't work.
Ethan lost his balance and started to fall. If the lift had been parked where it was normally parked, he would have just fallen into the water. But with the lift parked in the corner, there was no where for him to fall except into the concrete corner of the pool.
I quickly let go of my phone, and it fell into the pool. I grabbed Ethan, and to tell the truth I don't know what happened next. All I remember was that Jim was able to keep Ethan from hitting the concrete, and that I thought I was going to pass out.
I had been careless.
All I could see in my mind was Ethan's busted head and teeth.
I gave thanks for what I considered to be a divine reminder, of how much Ethan is dependent upon us for his safety.
At the end of the day, Ethan was safe, Jim was understanding, and I was extremely thankful.
I knew, when Ethan thanked me for not letting him fall, that he was teasing me.
He doesn't have one unforgiving or ungrateful bone in his body.
I can't describe Ethan's gratitude towards Jim and me for all we do for him.
It is humbling to be the recipient of such gratitude and forgiveness.
But his words made me think.
They made me think about how much easier it is, for me to be ungrateful rather than grateful.
Why do I remember one hurtful comment someone has made, instead of the hundreds of words of encouragement people have spoken to me?
Why do I remember the one person who didn't wish me a Happy Birthday on Facebook, instead of the fifty that did?
Why is it easier for me to remember the person who never called or sent a card when Ethan first got hurt, rather than to remember the hundreds that did?
Why is it so easy to see the socks left in the floor, or the trash can in the kitchen that wasn't emptied, but choose not to see the dishes that were put away or the coffee that was made the night before, so it would be waiting for me the next morning?
Why is it easier to remember when someone forgot than when they remembered?
Or when they didn't call instead of when they did?
Why is it easy to remember the losses and the disappointments? I definitely don't have to write them down and make a list of them so they won't be forgotten. Yet I find myself writing down His gifts during the week, so I don't forget to say thanks to The Giver.
I've thought many times about the day I almost let Ethan fall out of the lift, yet I never think about all the days I didn't. I don't think about all the days I was careful, or all the days I went to the pool when I didn't want to go because Ethan did.
When I go to bed at night, if I'm not careful, I think about all the things that might go wrong instead of all the things that God has made right.
When I read a book I usually have a highlighter in my hand. I highlight those passages that speak to me. The ones I want to remember.
I realize how easy it is to go through life with a highlighter in hand and to highlight the hurt, the disappointments, and the perceived failures of others and of myself.
It's easy to highlight the plans that fell apart, the answers that didn't come, and the tears instead of the laughter.
I really want to highlight the good I see in people. I want to highlight their thoughtfulness, their kind words, and the little ways they show they love me.
I want to highlight the beauty I see around me, and the moments when I know that I know that He made it all for me.
I want to highlight, when by God's grace, I get it right. Times when I turn the other cheek, or when I remember to pray for a friend. Times when I think about someone else's needs instead of my own, and times when I choose to forgive a hurt.
God's put the highlighter in my hand.
He gives me the choice.
I know what Ethan has chosen to highlight.
I want to choose the same.
MY GRATITUDE LIST
Ethan's grateful and forgiving heart
so many gifts to highlight
a forgiving husband
good health for my niece
Dad's successful eye surgery
a gracious audiologist at the VA office that fixed his hearing aid
no broken bones after a little fall
my dad telling me that he's gonna be just fine.
tropical storms that didn't turn into a hurricane
a trip to the beach to see the rough and beautiful surf
the sounds the waves make crashing into the shore
watching the sea oats bend in the strong wind, and remembering that Jesus said He would not break a bruised reed.
the promise that God shows His power through broken, clay pots
sunshine after the rain
the puffy white clouds that are the only thing left of a storm
being confident of His faithfulness when speaking to a large group of women
safe travels for a football weekend
a husband that finds me a place with coffee when we wake up with no power
when I wanted to run and try to hide from God but I didn't
trusting God has a way when I just can't see it
that He is faithful and just to forgive us all our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness