I haven’t posted a blog since two days before my dad’s heart attack.
Everything changed that day. I was reminded how much I adore my parents. I found real strength in and through Christ in my hardest, most exhausted and emotional days in the ICU. I saw the legit and undeniable power that comes when people pray. I became grateful for things I took for granted everyday: an appetite, the ability to smile, life.
But within a week of my dad being taken to the hospital in a helicopter and within a week of not knowing for three hours if he was alive or not, not only was life back to normal, I was back to normal.
I was back to life after being gone for eight days, back to speaking engagements, grad school and Thanksgiving. Back to busy and back to being ungrateful and taking life for granted. Within just a few weeks I went from being grateful for the sun shining to being constantly anxious, edgy and filled with complaints.
Yesterday, was no exception. I didn’t have time. I didn’t have time to attend the weekly prayer meeting in the inner city where I volunteer. I didn’t have time to interview some of the members at Hope Street for my class. And I’m learning when I think I don’t have time to do something I have to do, my mood is exceptionally foul. Even as I drove passed a man living out of two trash bags and a wire cart, I felt nothing but selfish, justified angst.
When I got to Hope Street, I apologized for being late and sat quietly faking a smile when George walked in. I’d never met George, but when you live at Hope Street it’s usually because you aren’t able to live somewhere else. The people at Hope Street were formerly homeless, incarcerated, addicts or in some other place of brokenness.
George sat down very slowly, holding the arms of the chair he was getting into very tightly. When the staff person asked George how he was, he said (again slowly), “Wonderful.” He went on, “In fact, I’d have to think long and hard for something to complain about.”
God answers my prayers in the most unpredictable ways. The Lord knew I could barely stand being around myself lately. He knew I was tired of listening to myself complain, but couldn’t seem to stop. He knew I was grateful deep down for so many big things, but I had forgotten to be thankful for the small things. He also knew I wouldn’t be able to hear from him until I was forced to sit long enough to listen.
And because He loves me the same whether I’m helping my dad or angrily driving to a prayer meeting, he answered my prayer in the most gentle, kind and meaningful way – through a broken and humble man named George who came late to a prayer meeting to remind me how joyful, free and content gratitude looks.