Remain thankful for life, even with aching back

Somewhere in the Bible it says we are to be thankful at all times no matter what. Where is that? Wait … here it is. 1 Thessalonians 5:18. King James puts it thusly: “In everything give thanks,” while The New International Version translates it: “Give thanks in all circumstances.”

That is one reason why I am lying here on our living room floor with a sore lower back composing a list, in no particular order, of reasons I am thankful even in my somewhat painful circumstance.

First, I am thankful for ibuprofen and ice packs. They don’t take the pain away, but they help. So does lying on a hard surface. All are supposed to help alleviate the muscle spasms which are the source of my problem. I used to have back pain quite often, but over the years I have learned to be careful lifting heavy objects or twisting certain ways, and I can usually sense when I am approaching danger. But not this time, apparently.

I am thankful that Becky is healing well after her foot surgery seven weeks ago. The doctor told her she can start putting some weight on it which allows her much more mobility. This has been especially helpful for me at this time because I am pretty much confined to the floor. The timing of her healing and my backache is almost miraculous.

I also must give thanks for her because back before I met her, when she had her house built, she decided to use knotty pine for the high living room ceiling. I have been staring up at it quite a bit lately. All those dark knots in the light wood; all those patterns. It is almost like looking up at a photo negative of the night sky and trying to discover constellations.

I sometimes get so caught up with the minutiae in my life that I run out of time to do things I really like to do, such as read a book. This afternoon I read a wonderful novel, The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, from start to finish. I’ll probably start another book tomorrow even if I am feeling better by then. I am very thankful for the down time down her on the floor which allowed me the pleasure of enjoying Coelho’s fine words and ideas.

Sydney is lying right up against me snoring away. I am part of his pack, I guess. He is good company. He occasionally will lope into the woods searching for things with a strong stench and then roll in them. Right this minute, though, he doesn’t smell like anything other than a dog. I am thankful for that and for him.

It is not easy to write lying on my back while holding my journal above me. Do you remember back during the Space Race when companies that sell writing utensils were touting their pens that would write upside down? Just like the ones the astronauts use, they said. I always use a pencil when I write in my journal. Pencils write upside down, as well, so I really don’t have need of an outer space astronaut pen. I am thankful for pencils, however.

It is cool and raining outside. I always give thanks when it rains for many reasons. One of which is the water in our house comes from our pond, and I feel better when the water level is high. But I am especially thankful for rain today because even if I wasn’t flat on my back, I wouldn’t be doing outside things. If I have to be immobile and inside, it is good weather for it.

I am writing this a few days before Thanksgiving Day. I should be up and around by then. As is tradition, our family will gather together at our house for the celebration. We will go around the table and each person will say one thing for which he or she is thankful. I’ve already started my list.