Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Things I am thankful for...

In the concentration camps in WWII, the inmates were thankful for lice, because it kept their guards farther away from them. This is a version of the story that I found on the internet:

"At Auschwitz, one of the Nazi concentration camps which imprisoned the Jews during World War II, there was a barracks which had a particularly scathing outbreak of lice. Of course all of the barracks were infested but not to this degree. The inmates in this barracks were suffering anyhow but doubly so with this added burden. The itching and discomfort was becoming unbearable. They would wail and complain to God and pray for his mercy.

There was a wise, old rabbi among them and he would try to console them but nothing was working. They would frequently beg him to ask God for help, thinking the rabbi had God's ear, and he did pray for relief but to no avail.

The guards came to the different barracks regularly to harass, beat, and drag some of the inmates off to the ovens. All day and night screams could be heard throughout the camp and became a horrifying part of life there.
One night as they were preparing to say their prayers the rabbi announced, "Tonight we will thank God for the lice." The inmates looked at him like he was insane. How could he ask them to do such a thing as thank God for the very affliction which was almost driving THEM insane? They discussed it among themselves and decided they had nothing to lose and nothing else had worked.

Out of desperation (and trust and respect for the rabbi) they complied.
They began to notice the guards' visits were becoming less frequent and eventually stopped altogether, although they could hear the screams and beatings in the other barracks. They repeated the prayer every day in the coming months. The lice stayed with them without letting up until the Allies finally came and liberated the camp on that wonderful day.

They realized that God responded to their prayers of thanks by allowing that affliction of lice to spare them. The guards had avoided all contact with that barracks out of revulsion for the lice and fear of stepping foot in such a contaminated place and touching such loathsome people."

Trials can look pretty grim, if we don't try to look on the "grateful side" of things.

I am going to try to make a list of things I am thankful for each week. The lists will have between 5 and 10 items, it just depends on what I am grateful for that day. Hopefully they will help me, and my readers, think about looking at life a little differently. I am hoping to find the gratitude in my "lice."
1. I am grateful for my onion allergy. I am more aware of what is in my food, and I can make soups and sauces from scratch without too much extra thought or energy.

2. I am grateful for having PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome). It has forced me to be more reliant on the Lord. I am more aware of my body, and more grateful for each of my children because I know that they are all literally miracles.

3. I am grateful for vacuum cleaners. They not only clean up floors, but they are a great distraction when I need Maddy to leave something alone. I can pull the vacuum out of the closet and she comes crawling over.
4. I am grateful for losing my keys (or calendar, or whatever it is that I lost this time) because it reminds me to pray, rely on my Heavenly Father. It gives me a moment to ask for help, and then to express pure gratitude to my Father in Heaven.
5. Maddy's smiles make my day, but her hiccups truly crack me up. Maddy knows that I often laugh at her, and today when I got the hiccups, she giggled with glee at me for several minutes. She thought it was hilarious that I was trying to stop hiccuping. Who knew that hiccups were something to be grateful for?

6. I am grateful for all the batches of yeast bread that didn't turn out. There have been a lot of them over the years, and at one point I had completely given up on any recipe that involved yeast. Those failures make it so much sweeter, now that I have figured out simple yeast recipes.

That is my list for tonight, but more will come....


TrueLeah said...

Thanks for sharing!! A good reminder to look for the possitives from our trials!! Thanks!

Kathy Haynie said...

Hmmm...I'm trying to think why I'm grateful for flat feet and wearing orthotics. I'm sure there's a reason, but it's not coming to me right at the moment. Thanks for a good list!

Mike said...

I'm grateful for moving to Bend, OR otherwise I would have never had the opportunity to start a business and learn tons, and I would have never had met my wife and had a wonderful children.