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Count your blessings one by one

FRIDAY, January 1, 2016: I was in a minibus today and sitting next me was one of the most ungrateful persons I have ever met. The man was grumbling about everything and anything. It was as if he had burst his spleen. His speech was pure acid the whole time.
The man complained about the lack of rains, the Zesco load-shedding and new tariffs, the lack of water in the Victoria Falls, the depreciation of the Kwacha against other major currencies, the politicians, the number of Chinese nationals in Zambia, and so on.
I could not wait for the minibus to reach its destination because the longer I sat next to him, the more negative I was also becoming. His ungrateful spirit was contagious. Already, a lot of people on the bus were agreeing with him as he spoke. I finally disembarked. Phew!
This got me really thinking. Here we are, starting a new year. Is that how we should go into a brand new year? It is like someone giving you a blank sheet of paper on which to write anything you want and all you do is scribble angry words on it in very bold letters.
Life has its ups and downs, its mountain tops and its valleys, its summers and its winters, its joys and its sorrows, its days and its nights. The sun never shines all the time. Therefore, it is up to us to decide what we will concentrate on…the ups or the downs.
That man that sat next to me on the bus had made a choice and it was a very costly one. He had chosen to concentrate only on the negatives. Listening to him, you would think that life in Zambia was nothing but downs, valleys, winter, sorrow, and night!
So, to avoid spewing this negativity on my family, when I got home I did two things. Firstly, I went through a soul-detoxing process for my own good. I spent time asking myself what I should be grateful for in the year 2015. I began to count my blessings one by one.
There is a song that says:
“Count your blessings, name them one by one
Count your blessings, see what God has done
Count your blessings, name them one by one
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.”
I was amazed how much I needed to be grateful for. To begin with, I need to be grateful that God has made me a Christian. He is now my heavenly Father. Jesus is my elder brother and my Saviour. The Holy Spirit lives in my heart and guides me everyday.
Then I saw that I needed to be grateful for my wife and children. God had preserved the lives of each one of us right across the year while in other families they had lost loved ones through death. Even that ungrateful man should be grateful that he is still alive!
Finally, I saw that I needed to be grateful for the environment in which I live and work. Zambia is a very peaceful country. Its people are very friendly. We may not be rich in terms of money in our bank accounts but we are rich in terms of the ambience around us.
Having gone through that soul-detoxing process, I then got my family together in the evening and went through that same exercise with them. I asked one simply question, “Let us all list down 10 things that were a blessing to us across 2015.”
I was again amazed at some of the items on the list. I laughed when I noticed that most of the children listed me, their father, among the blessings they had in 2015. It was good to know that some people on this planet think that I am a blessing.
When the whole exercise was over, we sang the song, “Count your blessings!” and celebrated the dawn of a new year. We do not know what plans God has for us in 2016 but our prayer is that we might end it on a similar note…counting our blessings one by one. If you are reading this, try the detoxing exercise and see its effect on your spirit. Yes, try it.
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