Gratitude and Living

On January 26,2012 I stood humbly before my Creator and there in the palm of my hand I held a stone… That stone symbolized my fears, my inadequacies and a lifetime of pain.

It was all I had, all that I could scrounge together as an offering. I was certain that God would reject my gift, certain that He would snub it or that He would politely accept it and then set it aside as one does with gifts that are deemed inappropriate or of little consequence.

I could not have been more wrong. What I could see beneath the surface of that stone was the tiniest tremor of a heartbeat… It was fading and becoming more and more erratic but it was there. I offered this stone to God with a look of sheepishness, offered it to Him knowing He deserved so much more.

God reached down and gently cupped His hands beneath my palms and brought them and my stone up to His lips… His eyes searched mine and there in the depths I felt the stirrings of my heart. His eyes held a question, almost as if He was asking my permission. I nodded my head,  I did not know what I was agreeing to, but I needed to acquiesce to this thrumming, this vibration that was coursing through my body.

God nodded once and then bent His head and while still holding my palms He softly breathed a warm and soothing breath into my cupped hands. I stood transfixed and gave a brief exalted sound as I watched the stone break and light begin to illuminate the cracks. One more breath from God and I beheld my heart in the palm of my hand.

I humbly and hesitantly offered the gift of a stone to my Maker, my Creator and He has graciously returned to me my heart. A heart filled with wonder and awe.

Gratitude, thankfulness and joy.  These are the words that slice through the painful scars left behind by those other words – jealousy, discontent and failure.  Those words that have bled me dry and left cracks and deep crevices in their wake.  I am breathless this morning, breathless with God’s amazing grace and listening to the sweet sound of His tender mercies.

I am learning in a simple act of thanks the acceptance of joy and in that simplicity how my heart will flourish as I give thanks.  I am learning to embrace a Eucharistic life – to accept grace, thanksgiving and joy.

I am breathless, my heart skittering and staggering as I realize that the trunk of my soul that has been felled by blow after blow of the axe of fear, failure and ungratefulness is rising up and begging the question “can the dead live again?” – Job 14:14. My soul delights once more in the answer, which is a howling a resounding YES!

“Even a tree has more hope!
If it is cut down, it will sprout again
and grow new branches.

Though its roots have grown old in the earth
and its stump decays,
at the scent of water it will bud

and sprout again like a new seedling.” – Job 14:7-9 (NLT)

So I sit this morning at the banks of the River Grateful and drink until my thirst is slaked.  My roots begin to tentatively unfurl into thanksgiving and joy.  The water fills the deep crevices of a parched existence and I rise up all new and bendy – as a sapling would – and greet each day mindful of the gifts that are offered to me without end.


  1. Absolutely exquisite and profound! There is so much Life & Truth in your writing… I totally LOVE it!! Thanks Tonya, for sharing your gifts!
    Love & Blessings, LN 🙂

  2. Oh thank you for that! I love to see the many ways God works.

  3. All I can say is wonderful — truly wonderful words!

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