Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Gift Of Gratitude

Thanksgiving snuck up on me this year. With all the health issues of our parents, my family has been preoccupied. There is part of me, I suppose, that dreaded this week because I knew we would be facing some decisions regarding our folks that I don't want to have to consider. Trying to help coordinate things that need to be happening is something that makes me nervous. Since my arrival on Saturday, I have interacted with a number of people about things that have to be done on behalf of Mom and Dad, either in the immediate or not too distant future. Repeatedly, I have learned things about my parents that I did not know. You have to realize that I have not lived at home since I was eighteen and in the intervening years, they have resided in Nebraska, California, Texas, and now Missouri. As I talk with those whose lives have crisscrossed theirs, I am increasingly amazed at the impact my mom and dad have had on others. As I try to express my gratitude for some kindness these good people have or are currently rendering to my family, I find myself listening to another chapter, untold to me, of the biographies of Roger and Nelda Hawley. The stories, while varied, have a common theme: a couple who simply spent their days and years serving others. My parents were there when other people needed them and now, the favor is being returned. I heard a college basketball coach explain gratitude like this many years ago:
"You can say Thank you. Or, you can send a note and write Thank You. But the best way to express gratitude is to live Thank You."
My mother realizes almost nothing these days. My father, because of his hospitalization, sees only a sliver of what his friends are doing on his behalf. But the rest of the family sees...and we are in awe. We can never pay back these acts of goodness to our parents, but that isn't what it's about anyway. In Second Corinthians 9:12, Paul expresses his gratitude for the generosity of the Christians in Corinth with these words:"This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God's people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God."
God is being praised for what so many are doing for Mom and Dad in their time of greatest need. The cycle continues.
Applicable quote of the day:
"If the only prayer you said in your life was 'thank you,' that would suffice."
Meister Eckhart

God bless,
Luke 18:1
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*reprinting from 11-27-07

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