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Gratitude in Small Places

A mother’s summer afternoon with her young sons, a bucket of chalk, a driveway and a rainstorm. There’s joy in it all.

Finding gratitude in small moments.

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming from the Father of heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. (James 1:17, NIV)

It’s a bucket of sidewalk chalk that I’m grateful for today.

The afternoon is sticky-summer sweet. The boys and I had peanut butter and jelly sandwiches under the shade of our Norwegian maple at noon. And now, as the afternoon sun disappears into a gray sky and there’s a feeling of heaviness, like the rain may break loose, we sit on the drive with a bucket of chalk.

Shawnelle's son drawing with chalk in the driveway. A small moment of joy.One boys picks through the crumbles and stubs of for a straight, fresh, unblemished stick. He goes to work on an underwater scene. Another boy draws a sailboat. He makes a bright blue sea and chalky waves press onto his khaki shorts as he colors and creates.

And my heart is thankful.

There is peace in the simplicity of this moment.

There is elegance in the commonness of this day.

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“How do you like this?” a boy asks. I admire his sketches. But mostly I admire the way his eyes smile when he’s happy and the way that the season has browned and freckled his face.

One of my favorite faces in the world.

I pick up a piece of chalk, too, and it feels like childhood is back. There’s an easy freedom.

I find that as gratitude swells, my worries shrink.

Thank you God for these children.

Thank you for the color of the day.

Thank you for the joy that comes with summer and sons and a simple bucket of chalk.

It isn’t long before the rain comes. It starts at a gentle sprinkle. Slow drops that smatter the cement. But then the sky opens and there’s a downpour. The boys and I scramble to pick up scattered pieces of chalk, then we run like wild to the porch.

“Our drawings,” one son says when we’re inside, dripping water on the porch floor.

“It’s okay,” says his brother.

There will be other afternoons. More sweet times. And we still have the bucket of chalk. But for now, we sit close on the bench and watch the rain.

Because there’s beauty in this, too…

Father, thank you for your unchanging, generous goodness. Amen.


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