Monday, August 31, 2020

Attitude of Gratitude

Standard disclaimer: The views and opinions in this article are the rambling thoughts of the author and not necessarily representative of Living Word Lutheran Church.

I am having some random thoughts while I am sitting at home recovering from a hip replacement surgery (my second one this year) or maybe it is just the pain medication that I am taking. 😁 Anyway, I was thinking about the year 2020 now being 2/3's complete. It has been quite a year so far. Personally, I've gone through the two aforementioned surgeries and a few months ago, my wife fell and had emergency surgery to repair a broken leg and hip. Between the two of us, we now have enough metal to make airport detectors light up like Christmas trees. 

Then there was this global pandemic thing, and social isolation turning into social unrest turning into civil disobedience, polarizing distrust of figures of authority, the political divisions, conspiracy theories, racial tensions, record heat waves, massive forest fires, hurricanes, and though I know that it is not one of the seven last plagues, there has been an excessive number of frogs in my backyard this summer (see Ex 7:25 - 8:15). Yes, it sure feels like the four horsemen are running amok. But personally I doubt that the Rapture is near. I think it is more likely that God is just trying to get our attention. Often it takes something drastic to get our attention.

So, while I sit here in my "pain medicine induced" period of introspection, I choose not to focus on the negative things that have occurred, but rather all the positive things. I have many things to be grateful for:  I am employed and able to work from home, we are relatively healthy, the family and grandkids are great, no one in my family has suffered health issues, we have a home, food on the table, and enough toilet paper... and there still is church.  I am thankful for my church. I don't really understand all those people who keep jumping from church to church because they don't like a message, or style of music, or a pastor, or a church board or member. I think they are missing out on the real joy and sense of belonging of a church. I don't think a church should be too comfortable because that may lead to complacency, but a church should be like home. There is no place like home... though there may be countless chores, unpleasant duties, or repairs to be made, it is still great to be home.

To be perfectly clear, when I am talking about church, I am not talking about a physical building. My church has had several of those over the years. No, a church is the people. My church family. Like my physical family, my spiritual family is always there to support me... in prayer, words of encouragement, in volunteering to help in any way possible. Also like my physical family, I don't always agree with everything my church family says, does, or opines. Sometimes they surprise, perplex, annoy, or even anger me, but they are my family. Sometimes I don't even like or want to associate with all the members of my family, but I can still love them because love is a choice, not just an emotion (that is a thought too deep to discuss at this time). And just like my physical family, my church family is definitely not perfect. In fact to some outsiders we may seem to be an odd group of characters, but like Sister Sledge says "we are family". We are bonded together by the love of Jesus and though we are certainly not perfect, the Head of our family is, was, and always will be.

So my gratitude for today is my church family. I give them thanks and I thank God for them. I am truly blessed.

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