The news in the past week or so has been filled with tragedy – flooding in Colorado, mass shootings here and abroad. It would be understandable if one felt the weight of hopelessness in light of a world where these kinds of things happen to God’s people.
But for me, the past week or so has been filled with moments of joy. Sara’s 17th birthday was Thursday the 12th, and with the exception of dealing with roads being closed off because of a race, we had a really nice night. One of my favorite things to see and hear is Hannah and Sara having fun together, and this night was no exception.
Hannah’s birthday was this past Wednesday – her 21st – and again we had a fun family dinner, accompanied by Hannah’s good friend Nicole. Not every daughter would want to celebrate her 21st birthday, ON the day, with her parents and little sister. We’re lucky like that – Hannah still seems to like being around us. And we all sure love having her around. I’m thankful that she chose to go to college here in Atlanta so we get to see her more often than other parents of college students get to see their kids.
Move forward again to Saturday. I served at the 5:30 service at church and then got to take my godmother, Beverly, to dinner, along with Hannah and Sara. Bev is the reason my family goes to St. Martin’s, and for that I will always be grateful. Her husband, my godfather, Don, passed away in August, and I know that she’s been very sad. They were together for more than 65 years, and I’m not sure I've witnessed a better partnership. I neglected them while Don was ill, and I will always regret that. So I've made a promise to myself to take time with Bev. It’s an easy promise to keep – she’s a delight and I love her very much. We had a wonderful time – a very joyful evening again.
Today the ladies of the church held a baby shower for Mother Lauren Kuratko. (I love telling people that one of our priests is pregnant.) Lauren is one of the kindest, gentlest people I've ever met. I love listening to her preach, I love it when she’s the celebrant at church, and I love just spending time with her. She lights up a room when she comes in, and pregnancy has just enhanced that. Another joyful event – and one full of anticipation for more joy once her baby boy is born.
As I sat in church again tonight, I recognized how blessed I am. I have a new job that I love, I have a wonderful family that I love, and I have a church home that I love. The world swirls around us, for better or for worse, and tomorrow might bring some sadness or trial to me and those I love. So tonight I’ll say out loud how much God has blessed my life, in hopes that when the opposite of joy comes, as I know it will, I might remember and keep things in perspective.
From A New Zealand Prayer Book:
We thank you Lord Jesus, for the day you have given us, and for
all the pleasure we have had. Guard us while we sleep, and bless
all those we love, this night and for ever. Amen