Friday, May 11, 2007

It's been a tough week

Flooding in the Midwest.
Fires in California, Georgia, Florida, and elsewhere.
Families at our church mourn the sudden loss of loved ones.
Sexual harrassment at a dear friend's workplace.
Marriages falling apart and imploding.
The war rages on with no end in sight.
Thirty-five thousand more families will soon send loved ones to Iraq.

But this morning, I stood in the private room of a local restaurant with nearly 20 beautiful black women, holding hands.
Together we sang a simple and powerful song.
"Thank you Lord. Thank you, Lord. Thank you, Lord.
I just want to thank you, Lord.
You've been so good. You've been so good.
You've been so good. I just want to thank you, Lord."

Then I prayed out loud - thanking God, not only for the blessings we see, like each other's faces, our families, our homes, our cars, our cupboards and pantries full of food, but also for the things we don't see - the protection over us and our loved ones as we go back and forth to school and work, as we drive, fly, ride motorcycles, bicycles, and scooters. I thanked Him for courage, clarity, wisdom, and discernment to live with integrity and love. And when we mess up - and surely we will - I pray that we will have the humility to ask for forgiveness, the compassion to extend it as well, and the will to live free from bitterness when forgiveness is neither sought from us nor extended to us. May our days be brighter and our nights quieter because we have opened our hearts and minds to the abundant grace we have received and because we have given thanks for our many blessings.

It's been a tough week for me personally.
Near total relationship and communication breakdown.
Wondering why me, what did I do to deserve this,
and do I care enough to try to repair it yet again?

But the blessings also came this week. Words of encouragement from friends.
Hugs. Telephone calls. Text messages. My children's boundless love.
Tennis this morning. Ice water to drink. Warm water to bathe.
And that group of women, singing and praying and living out these words:
"I just want to thank you, Lord."

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