Mary stood at her sliding glass door, enjoying her view of life taking place in her backyard. Carpenter bees were hard at work, exploring the worn wooden frame of the patio roof. Birds echoed their happy trills back and forth from pine trees, lining the edge of her small plot of land. It was an absolute masterpiece.
A discarded purple beach bucket lay warming in the bright, afternoon sun. She could picture her little girl dropping it on the ground as she made her way inside for dinner. The small, black charcoal grill on which her husband had cooked their hamburgers the night before stood tall above the plastic toy. Signs of her beautiful family were in every corner.
Mary stared a few minutes longer before taking the dish towel from her shoulder, and walking back to the drainer full of freshly washed dishes, waiting for her on the counter. But, after drying and putting away only two, she couldn’t help but wander back to her spot in front of those doors.
It wasn’t hard for Mary to appreciate all that God had given her. Hardship had become the main theme in her life before faith stepped in and changed everything. Staring at her red, tear-soaked face in the mirror six years before, after ending her relationship with an abusive, married man almost twice her age, she whispered a prayer toward the ceiling, asking God to show her the way to happiness. It turns out, happiness began in church. The little church she now attended week after week had literally saved her life.
A slamming door woke her from her trance. A glance through the front room window revealed her husband walking away from their car, carrying a pizza in one hand and their two-year-old, blue-eyed angel in the other. She slipped a pair of worn-brown flip flops onto her feet and hurried out to help him.
“Mommy!” squeals her chubby-cheeked mirror image.
“Hey!” she yells happily back. “I missed you both so much!”
After exchanging a love-filled kiss with the man God had led her to, she grabbed their chubby toddler out of his arms and led the way back into the house. Neither of them will ever know how dark Mary’s life had been before finding her way back to light. They will only feel her unending appreciation for their presence and the love she will continue to pour out to them day after day.
Cheesy pizza is placed on paper plates. No more dishes to wash, tonight. Mary passes the salad she has tossed to the man she will spend the rest of her life with. Love fills her heart and she sends a silent “Thank you” toward the ceiling. The unpleasant circumstances that surround her past only reinforce her thankful heart. If life had always been simple, any blessings that would have found their way into her life may have simply been taken for granted.