My husband rustles in the closet. I forbid my eyelids to lift, and I dive back into my dreams.
“If you get dressed and go vote with me, I’ll take you to breakfast.”
I whip off the covers and sit up.
“Bagelheads or McDonalds, whichever place you want to go.”
Bagel head’s glorious morning muffin is my favorite, but I love McDonald’s coffee. Time is important to Mike on a workday, plus a sausage biscuit sounds a whole lot better than our usual fare, so I announce, “McDonalds it is.”
We’re the first voters to arrive at our polls. We zip in and out. As we pull into the McDonald’s parking lot, my mouth waters over the thought of a decadent sausage biscuit. Cars in the drive-up window lane wrap around the building, and I deflate.
“Don’t worry, the line moves fast. Besides, we’re going inside to sit down and eat.”
I nod and unbuckle the seat belt. Inside, only one person stands at the counter, receiving his change. We place our order, and they hand us our coffees while we wait. And wait.
After ten minutes, Mike inquires about our order. They ran out of an ingredient in his breakfast burrito. We wait more. After twenty minutes he says, “Let’s go.” He strides to the door, and I stumble after him. I guess I’m making breakfast after all.
After we eat a hasty meal, Mike leaves for work. I stare out the window and wash the breakfast dishes. At the rate I wipe the plates, I’ll still be at it until noon. I left my motivation at McDonald’s, along with a sausage biscuit in the queue.
“You know that you’re being ridiculous?” The Holy Spirit butts into my thoughts.
I sigh. “Yes, I know.”
“Count your blessings, count them one-by-one.” He sings a hymn I had refused to sing a few days prior, because I didn’t know it well and thought the tune droll. I can’t help but smirk at myself.
“All right. My not singing that song was stupid too. I am a spoiled, prideful person.”
“Yes, but I love you anyway.”
I try to sing the unfamiliar hymn but fail.
“How about I thank you for my blessings instead of singing? Thank you for Mike, who was willing to take me to breakfast. Thank you for the McDonald’s coffee.” I gain momentum. “Thank you that we had pineapple in the refrigerator. Thank you that I live in a country where votes hold equal power. Thank you for the green leaves singing in my backyard.”
The more I open my eyes to the abundance of God’s gifts surrounding me, the more my soul swells. I finish the dishes in a minute and bounce to the bedroom to make the bed and play with the cat who is going “under-cover.”
The McDonalds episode happened a couple of days ago. Yesterday afternoon, when the bewitching hour struck at 5:00, and my blood sugar and pep dove through the floor, I heard the Holy Spirit hum that first line again. I still dragged through the kitchen cooking supper, but my attitude changed as I remembered the many presents God parachuted to me throughout the day.
The first line of the song, “Count your blessings, count them one-by-one,” continues to roll around my head. I don’t know the next line or the next, but the first line announces the message I need to hear and the act which I should take. The song reminds me of a lesson my Savior taught me back in college as I longed for my fiancé when we were separated through time and distance.
He who offers a sacrifice of thanksgiving honors Me; And to him who orders his way aright, I shall show the salvation of God.” Psalm 50:23
If I thank God when I don’t feel like it, when I’m exhausted or discouraged, and it’s a sacrifice to thank Him, He shows me His salvation. That salvation comes in the form of Joy, an unexpected but welcome friend. Joy doesn’t always dance within me. Sometimes she sings a simple, unassuming song. She may even hum in a minor key, yet, her melody almost always brings a new perspective and her cousin, Peace.