I am not a person of tradition. Or routines. Or consistency. I love the new, the exciting, the challenging. And same old same old is definitely not exciting to me. There is one routine, however, that I've managed to uphold despite myself, maybe even because of myself. It's the time when I'm tucking José into bed and turning out the lights and lying down next to him and I say, “It's time to say 'Thank you, Jesus.'”

Besides the obvious reason that it's just what Christians do, there are other ways that this is important to me. Living in Mexico has always been hard. Actually, it's damn hard. And it would be is oh so easy for me to slip into a pity party or become bitter or hate my life. And so somehow the act of giving thanks out loud at the end of the day becomes an act of rebellion toward all of that junk. It's a way to say, “Yeah, life is hard. But I refuse to let it beat me down to the point where I can no longer believe.” And so I give thanks.

Giving thanks sounds different every night. (Did I mention that I despise routines?) Sometimes it feels noble and inspired: “Jesus, thank you for Daddy who works so hard for us.” Other times it's more concrete: “Jesus, thank you for vacuum cleaners and ice cream.” But in all seriousness, I do often pray for transformation in the lives of the hurting people around me, including myself. I ask for forgiveness from José and from God. I pray for “wisdom, knowledge, skill and love” for the doctors and teachers and authorities that influence us. But sometimes I'm just hanging by a thread. Maybe I'm exhausted or sad or angry or whatever and I just don't feel like giving thanks. And those are the times when I'm really glad that I can put up with a routine. Even if it's just one. Because those are the times when I can at least say, “José, I don't know how to say, 'Thank you, Jesus' tonight. Amen.” And José says, just like he says every night, “Uhna.”

I often think about how I want to model faith for my son. And even though being a Christian isn't about being perfect, I still feel bad about falling short most of the time. But tonight I was thinking differently about my almost-prayers. Because no doubt there will be times in José's life that he doesn't feel like giving thanks. And he will have a model of how to present that to Jesus at the end of the day and still say, “Amen.”

 

What do you do when you just don't feel like giving thanks? What routine is most helpful to you in your faith?

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