Thursday, September 17, 2015

Thankful Thursday - Is thankfulness the only thing I write about these days?

Is it just me or are the weeks of this year absolutely flying past? Is it Thursday again already? Is it time for another thankful Thursday post? I guess so.

How cool is this sand sculpture?

A week ago right now, I was enjoying the last day of a week-long vacation with my husband. At Hilton Head in South Carolina. We absolutely love that place. The Spanish moss hanging from the trees. The alligators floating lazily in the small ponds. Turtles that swim together in clusters. Sand. Shells. Surf. Sunshine. The best salmon we've ever eaten - and we cooked it ourselves. Wine. Blueberry mojitos. Blood orange mojitos.

Water. Popcorn. Sorbet. Towels. Chairs. An umbrella. Books. Journaling. Watching US Open tennis. Riding bikes. Shopping. Marveling at the beauty of the place.

Marveling at the torrential downpours and the depth of the standing water 
after only two hours of rain.

We ate remarkably well.

We walked and biked for miles.

Epic people watching.

Reading books that caused me to rethink 
my beliefs about race and racism.

There were silly moments -
and moments when I couldn't close my mouth long enough
to have my photo taken.

Dark clouds rolled through and unleashed enormous thunderstorms.

If you are married, if you have ever been married, then you know that marriage is hard. Very hard. Demanding. Disappointing. Frustrating. Spending several days alone with one's spouse can be hard, demanding, disappointing, frustrating. I know because I've been there.

This is the man, my man.

Last week at Hilton Head was the best week of our marriage. "Magical" is not too extravagant a word to describe the time we shared there. Reconnected. Recommitted. Reunited. Recharged. Thanks be to God. Thanks be to Steve for his willingness to try all kinds of new things. All manner of new things. (That's all I'm gonna say about that...)

We were happy.

I was happy.

But below all the laughter and beyond all the good food and before the long nights of deep sleep and after all the bike trips and with all the cans of La Croix peach-pear water, there was sorrow, suffering, and sadness. There was reflection and remembrance. There was wordless prayer.

As I sat and watched children run into and out of the water, I thought about the tiny bodies of tiny children washing up on seashores around the globe. Lifeless.
Lord, have mercy.

I thought about the children whose photos have never been and will never be shown on the news here, the ones in Rwanda and Congo and India and Pakistan and Brazil and Nicaragua and Liberia and Eritrea - the ones that are dying everyday of hunger and disease and neglect and war and abuse.
Christ, have mercy.

I thought about the children right here in the United States that are washing up on the shores of our land after being shot by lunatics with easy access to guns. We who claim to live in the greatest country in the world, the wealthiest country in all of human history, are more adamant about defending our right to have and carry guns than the right of our children to eat, have a roof over their heads, have access to health care, and attend school safely. 
Lord, please help us to have mercy on each other.

I thought about the parents and friends and relatives of young men and women who left for a new job or a movie or an engagement party or a department store or a Bible study and never returned home.
Lord, please provide comfort.

I thought about a friend whose husband was in the final days of stage 4 pancreatic kanswer.
Sweet Momma Jesus, please sit with her and hold her in your loving and comforting arms as she mourns his death.

I thought about the men and women who served us our meals when we ate out and the ones who would clean our rental house after we left.
Lord, please open my eyes and heart to all who provide me with service, care, and help in any capacity. May I see them all with eyes of love, greet them with words of gratitude, and remember their faces at future moments of prayer.
I thought about the dozens of people who sat behind a nearby hotel waiting for rides back home or to their next jobs or wherever they were headed. Sitting in groups. Sitting alone. After long hours cleaning up for guests who tried to ignore them, guests they were trained to not disturb. 
Sweet Savior, please protect them and provide for them. Please remind us that we are all guests, we are all hosts, we are all service workers in this world. No one is more valuable or worthy of love and respect than anyone else.
I thought about how much suffering surrounds me, even on vacation. Even on a magical vacation with the man I have loved for nearly 30 years now.
Thank you, Lord God Jesus, for never allowing me to forget that you love all people everywhere. Please help me to see, to acknowledge, to welcome, and to embrace all people.

Thank you for the friendliness of the family that occupied the chairs and sat beneath the umbrella next to ours.
Thank you for the assistance and attention from restaurant staff and supermarket cashiers and the fishmonger.
Thank you for the bounty and the beauty of creation everywhere we looked.
Thank you for safe travel for us and protection for the children we left behind.

Thank you that joy and sorrow, peace and sadness, laughter and prayer flowed together as effortlessly and poignantly as they did last week.

Thank you thank you thank you.
PS. Please have mercy. And help us to do the same. Help me to do the same.

1 comment:

Monica Coffey said...

Amen. Such beautiful words!