Michelle Martin

Finding time to say thanks

Sunday, May 22, 2011

It was late and I was tired. Returning home from an assignment sometime after 11 p.m., looking forward to at least another hour of work before making lunches and preparing for the next day, which would start at 5:30 a.m.. All I wanted to do was get inside and finish up as quickly as possible so I could go to bed.

I was not thinking about my house keys, which I assumed were in my pocket.

Which they weren’t. They were lying in the center console of my car, glinting up at me when I reached into the passenger seat to grab my bag.

“Thanks, God,” I said.

If I had left them there, I wouldn’t be able to get into the house without help; by the time I noticed they were missing, I would be in the backyard, between a locked garage and a locked back door and no key to get in either. I would have had to pull out my phone to call my husband to let me in. No doorbell — the dog would bark and wake the baby.

Add to that the embarrassment factor; it wouldn’t be the first time I managed to lock my keys to the house in the garage.

But none of that happened. By what appears to have been the merest chance, I looked down and noticed my keys.

Maybe it wasn’t God or my guardian angel or any kind of divine intervention. But I think maybe it was, one of those little nudges to remind me that a., there is someone watching over me, and b., it wouldn’t hurt to say thanks once in a while. And an opportunity for prayer is a good thing.

It’s kind of the same thing as praying to get a good parking space. Sure, maybe it would be better for me in the long run to park two blocks away and walk, and it’s a good bet that my parking space matters less in the grand scheme of things than even whether the fourth-grade basketball team wins a mid-season game.

Even so, when I approach a situation where I know it’s going to be tough to find a space, I’ll pray for it, and, often enough, someone pulls out or a space appears. Then it’s time for another quick thank you prayer.

There are a lot of small opportunities to give thanks every day; God knows I miss most of them. But when I try to pay attention, I find more and more.