My brother has just moved to Cornwall. He is exploring his new environment and sends me photos – they have much better weather down there! One photo includes a spot where he says ‘I come here once a week, to count my blessings. This week I had 14. It is interesting how they mount up.’ My brother has an artist’s eye, and he notices tiny details. He browses for hours in charity shops and finds all sorts of wonderful, eccentric books and curious items. I do not have the patience for browsing and am always fascinated by his finds when I go to visit him. He delights in the small splendid things of life and his home is full of colour and interest.
Some of us might use our regular quiet time or our time in church on a Sunday to count our blessings. More often than not though, I find myself bending God’s ear about something, rather than taking time to be grateful for what and who there is in my life. What I am learning from my brother’s photo sharing is just how much there is to appreciate, even on ‘every day’ days, if only I am prepared to stop long enough to absorb what is around me. I read about one woman who took a photo of something on every day of the year and then got her snaps made into a book. What a wonderful way of capturing a whole year of your life. I wonder how it might be to simply get a jar and put a small pebble or a bit of sea glass in it every time I counted a blessing. How might it encourage and strengthen me to see all the different colours and shapes filling the jar as the year went by? Wouldn’t it be extraordinary if we each carried around a few small buttons or shiny pennies in our pocket and gave one to anyone who was a blessing to us in our day? And what would happen if we invited that person to do the same to the next person who was a blessing to them? Whatever 2016 holds, there will be blessings in it, even in the valleys, even in the ‘every day’ days. We just need to be willing to take time to count them.