Sitting in my living room thinking about what to write. Later today I will go back to my old neighborhood and grill out with dearest friends. We will eat watermelon and corn-on-the-cob. I will bring the broccoli casserole. Kids in the swimming pool and me with my bug repellant. We will raise our glasses and offer a prayer of thanksgiving, careful to include the men and women who lived and died for our freedom to do so. We will tell stories, laugh holding our stomachs, and let the tears come for the passage of time and God’s faithfulness. There will be no shortage of hugs or grace. This will be our Memorial Day.
Still, in this moment, my to do list reminds me I’ve not yet written a blog for May. Looking for inspiration, I flip through my journal and land on a quote from Ronald Rolheiser’s The Holy Longing: The Search for a Christian Spirituality . . .
“To be a saint is to be fueled by gratitude, nothing more and nothing less.”
Gratitude. This inspires me. And the notion that we’re to be fueled by it? It’s the gas that keeps our engines running? What about when we’re running on empty? Mere fumes? And there’s that sputtering, choking sound that threatens to land us in the emergency lane, hazard lights flashing. What then?
There are times we can’t feel the “grateful” inside, or the thank-full. Our circumstances come down hard. Anguish weighs heavy and sadness saturates the soul. I have known this. I have seen it, tasted it’s bitterness. Conclusion: Not fun. Get a new vehicle.
But then, and this just in time, our God Who Sees sends a word of encouragement . . . through a friend, a brother, an embrace, a song, a Truth told. And that love, that Love extended is golden. Hope rises again. And, yes, even gratitude.
If it is as Brennan Manning said, “The foremost quality of a trusting disciple is gratefulness,” I want to practice this, get good at it. Top it off and go through the car wash.
Application: Next time you’re driving down the road and the gas light comes on, almost empty, get to the nearest gas station and fill’er up!
CAUTION: This may be costly, but it’ll get you where you need to go and you may even look back to find a row of cars following behind you:)
I think if Jesus were here, and I believe He is, He’d flash us a big grin saying, “Come join the caravan! I promise I won’t steer you wrong.”
Headin’ down the Highway with you,