When my father was still alive, I can remember how the conversation on the telephone would go. I’d call and he would answer the phone. After saying hello, the next topic would always be the weather. “How’s the weather there?” After that discussion, he would simply say, “Here’s your mother.” I know, not much of a conversation, but something about the sameness of it was comforting and reassuring.
My father has been gone now for quite some time, I wish he would answer the phone and ask about the weather. I’d tell him how hot it is, and he would tell me how hot it is there. Somehow, I’d glean from that little bit of conversation what I needed in order to know everything is ok. Funny what comes to our minds as we remember times past. My mother lived for the conversations where I’d tell her what was going on in my life, and she would always encourage me. When things happen now, it’s an empty feeling I can’t just pick up the phone and call. Talk about the weather with my dad, and share the happenings of my life with my mom.
It is indeed hot here! The thing about this extreme heat is, it gives us the time we need to think about what is important in our lives. We remember past times, we think about our current life, and even think about our future. This time of stillness has me thinking about all I’m grateful for.
I don’t have my parents to share with, but I’m going to share it with God. I’m truly grateful for my life and all the people in it. Those past, and those who are still here. The life God has given me has been nothing short of amazing. I have loved and been loved by those who God has placed along my journey.
This past Sunday I was blessed to share with a former congregation I pastored, as they concluded their ministry and passed on their building to a new burgeoning church. It was wonderful to reminisce about the past days with them. What I found in that reminiscing and remembering was a sense of true gratitude. The people were grateful for all God had done in their lives and in that community. It got me thinking about what I’m grateful for.
I’m grateful for those who encourage and support me. They may never know how much their words and actions mean, but it is so much more than they can imagine. I’m grateful for the churches I’ve served, they have taught me about the God who loves me more than anything. I’m grateful for the staff who have gone above and beyond to assist me in making the vision God gives me come to fruition. I’m grateful for the people of the churches who have been willing to engage in ministry. I’m grateful for the leaders who have stepped up to give their time and efforts to keep those churches moving forward.
Yesterday, our Child Development Center Board had a meeting to orient some new persons who have joined the board. I’m grateful for each of them, they are willing to help and serve. This week we will have a Blood Drive at the church on Thursday. I talked about it in last week’s Wednesday Word. I’m grateful for all those who have signed up and for others. A former church member from another church I served read about the drive. She lives in Houston and said she wouldn’t be able to come here, but she would make a point of going to donate blood near her on the day to be in solidarity with our mission.
I’m grateful for a congregation that has decided to welcome all persons to be a part of our happy band. People are coming and joining because of the love all of you exude. I know of no better place to be than with all of you.
I’m even grateful for the extreme heat we are enduring right now. It gives time for reflection and gives space to begin to see how immense God’s love for all of us truly is. I hope and pray you each will take some time during these very hot days to think about what you are grateful for. Even when we have lost some important people in our lives, we still have such gratitude for all they have given us. There’s even a hymn by the name of Count Your Blessings which reminds us to do just that. The refrain says:
“Count your blessings, name them one by one;
Count your blessings, see what God hath done;
Count your blessings, name them one by one
Count your many blessings, see what God hath done.”
Your fellow traveler on the Way,