Since Friday, our household has suffered two severely-sprained ankles, one concussion, and the loss of one large tree from our back-yard. We’ve had trips to the airport, the Emergency Room, and the hardware store. And then, for some foolish reason, I’ve tried to fit in a week’s worth of “normal life” — ministry meetings, a dentist’s appointment, e-mail correspondence — into three days, in between all the other adventures…
It’s a bit chaotic in the lead-up to Thanksgiving, but we’re managing all right. Really, we are.
My attitude, however, has not been the greatest. I’ve fretted the strains on our kitchen, the stains on the drop ceiling in our downstairs bathroom that insist upon making an ugly announcement of my ineptitude as a plumber, and the pains of policing the rough-housing of concussed cousins.
When the winds whipped through Kent yesterday afternoon and caused power outages, wailing sirens, and downed limbs all over the place, I felt especially aggravated by all the chaos. The storm door at the front of our house got bent out of shape by a particularly-strong gust. I ran out of time to take care of the tree pushing its way into our neighbors’ yards. When I finally got some time to get to work with a chain saw in the back yard, I made a few stupid mistakes. I felt like a grumbly, bumbly bear.
And then I remembered 1 Thessalonians 5:14-18, which says: “Brothers and sisters, we strongly advise you to scold the rebels who devote their lives to wreaking havoc, to encourage the downcast, to help the sick and weak, and to be patient with all of them. Make sure no one returns evil for evil, but always pursue what is good as it affects one another in the church but also all people. Celebrate always, pray constantly, and give thanks to God no matter what circumstances you find yourself in. (This is God’s will for all of you in Jesus the Anointed).”
Just this weekend, I had challenged some of our church’s student-leaders to be mindful of this passage as they went back home to interact with family and enjoy the Thanksgiving Break. But how quick I was to forget the passage for my own benefit!
Thankfully, God brought these words from Scripture back to mind this afternoon as I was cutting up tree limbs in my back yard. I remembered to celebrate the fact that I get to be with my brother and his family this week, as they visit from Texas. I rejoiced in the fact that my brother knows a lot more about chain saws and logging than I do, and that he has been very eager to help me this week. I thanked God for the obstacles that have come up and forced me to spend extra time praying with my son in the hospital, working side-by-side with my nephews in the yard, and sweating out my stress with some good ol’ manual labor. What marvelous therapy it is to serve, encourage, celebrate, pray, and practice gratitude!
We should, like, come up with a holiday to keep this in front of us…