It’s much easier to “give thanks in troubled times” after enduring and passing through the troubled times. This week’s reading from Psalm 107:1-3, 17-22 is a great example of exactly that -- giving thanks after troubled times are over.
When things are rotten, I don’t feel like giving thanks. I feel, instead, like shouting out, “What are you thinking, God? Why in the world would you expect thanks for THIS?” It’s really hard to thank God when all that seems to be present is depression and despair.
And I know how selfish that sounds. “Poor me – I’m not getting everything I want and everything isn’t perfect.” While I’m sputtering about something terrible happening to me, I'm generally not focusing on any kind of compassion for everyone.
Still, it’s important to remember that emotions are worth having – even savoring. Emotions are worth addressing. There’s no need to feel bad and then feel guilty about feeling bad. We don’t have to be devoid of emotions! And we’re not the only ones having them.
I think there’s a comfort in knowing that we all have good and bad days. We all have uplifting and energy-sucking emotions. And knowing that can help us move away from being self-centered and instead live out love, compassion, and justice.
We won’t get it right every time – maybe not even most times. But why not start there? We all can start from a place where things seem really good and remember to live in hope when it’s not.
In most, if not every situation, that’s all I’ve got – If it’s backwards – so what? It’s a start.