After being back in Missouri last weekend leading the deacon retreat in Cape Girardeau, my wife and I had the opportunity to spend a little time visiting with family before heading back to Cheyenne. One of the places we spent a fair amount of time was with my brother-in-law Bob who was in his last days of life on this earth. He was called home late Tuesday evening. The sadness of parting gives an indication of the amount of love experienced while alive.
Bob's death on Tuesday and my dad's birthday today has made me pause for a little reflection. My dad would be 98 today if he were still alive. It is hard to believe he has been gone from our midst for over 21 years already. Where do the years go? While I was in St. Louis last week I snapped the above picture--mainly for the Cardinals logo and not the beer logo--because my dad enjoyed watching and listening to the Cardinals games especially in September and October. I am grateful that he also had the opportunity to make a couple of trips to Florida in his retirement to enjoy some Spring Training games as well.
What does all of this have to do with anything? Well, it reminds me to have a heart filled with gratitude. Life can be quite difficult at times and it is easy to grow cynical. Serious illness, the death of a loved one, broken relationships, loss of a job and income, and a litany of other problems can take a toll on us. The pain and suffering caused by such life events can be immense. Are we able to see God's love in the midst of the challenges or do we blame God for the bad things happening in our lives? What is our perception of the reality surrounding us?
I invite you today to show gratitude in a very specific way for the blessings in your life. Hug your children or grandchildren a little tighter. Do something nice for your spouse. Write a note to someone you haven't seen in years. Say an extra prayer for someone. There are many ways to show gratitude. Be creative and do something that works for you!