Give Thanks for the Little Things
My cup overflows. —Psalm 23:5 (rsv)
Life Lessons From Those I’ve Met: Molly Shelley, a joyful mom
I had misgivings as I drove to Millersville, Pennsylvania. A Guideposts reader had written that someone should interview a “remarkable woman” who at forty-three, with six young children, was dying of cancer. Doubtless, Molly Shelley was faith-filled and brave, as the letter said, but I knew I’d drive away, as always when confronted with untimely death, feeling more grief than inspiration.
I was hailed from the side door of a house with baseball bats and bicycles in the driveway by a far-too-thin woman.
Soon I had my shoes off to enjoy with her “the way the carpet tickles.” We counted the shades of green in her yard, smelled the sun-dried clothes we pulled from the line. Her children drifted in from school one by one and joined us in an impromptu game of who-can-hear-the-most-sounds.
When I marveled at the high spirits of children who knew their mother was dying, Molly said, “That’s because I’m passing on to them what I learned only after getting sick. I used to thank God just for the big things. Life. Health. Family.” Her thank-you list was short “because there aren’t that many big things in an ordinary life.” It was in the forced inactivity following surgery that God began to show her Himself in the sound of her husband’s voice, the warmth of a blanket, the dust motes in a beam of light.
“Why, it will take an eternity to thank Him for all His gifts! And I’ll soon be seeing ones, I tell the children, that we can’t even imagine now.” As I drove home, I rolled down the window to feel the evening air on my face.
Written by Elizabeth Sherrill
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