Monday, October 8, 2012

Grateful

Yesterday's "service worship" with The Well got me thinking.

On the first Sunday of each month, The Well goes into the community to serve. Ranging from a plot in the community garden, graffiti removal, cleaning garbage off the streets, cleaning houses, and helping out in general with struggling neighbours -- this church invests itself in the community. Children serve alongside their parents. Lord only knows the long-term fruit this will bear in their lives as they learn to serve in practical ways from an early age.

Three of us had returned to the home of a single mother who struggles with a debilitating, long-term, incurable disease. My responsibility this sunny autumn morning was twofold: (a) make some headway in organizing her small storage room, and (b) find old photos and yearbooks for her as she prepares for Canadian Thanksgiving, and the anticipated visit from her children.

She wanted to share some of her life stories with her children, and the photos and yearbooks would serve as nostalgic visual aids.

The sobering discovery for me, when I finally unearthed the old yearbooks (in the lowest box in the farthest corner, naturally), was that this woman graduated from high school the same year as me.

The old photos and the yearbooks show a pretty young woman, full of life and promise, and I couldn't help but wonder, as I brought them into the house for her to see, whether the re-telling of her life story was as much for her, as it was for her children.

It wasn't always like this, the photos proclaim, pointing to happier times in her past. The three of us from The Well arrange the photos around her tiny living room, making it a treasure-house full of happy memories as she tearfully anticipates seeing her children today.

I'm thankful that we had the opportunity to serve her yesterday, to help out in whatever ways we could. And I'm grateful for the perspective that her life gives to me about mine.

Today is Thanksgiving Day in Canada, so I pause and remember just a few of the many things I'm grateful for:
  • my beautiful wife Wendy, my companion and lover in all the ups and downs of our 27+ years together
  • our three incredible children:
    • Jordan the dancer/artist, who works full-time as a social worker at Inn From The Cold,
    • Caleb, the musician, who serves at YWAM Harpenden (UK) as DTS staff,
    • Renee, the dancer/gymnast, who selflessly and happily serves with The Well or alongside her big sister at the homeless shelter, or just wherever
  • my extended family in Ontario and Manitoba
  • friends near and far who have enriched our lives
  • a roof over our heads and food on the table (our "daily bread")


grate·ful[greyt-fuhl]
adjective
  1. warmly or deeply appreciative of kindness or benefits received;
  2. thankful.

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