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From the Pastor's Pen


June 21, 2018

Gratitude. It means a sense of appreciation or thankfulness. I wonder, “How grateful are you?” Yesterday it was raining. I had to run from work to the car. I of course left my umbrella in the car! I was not very grateful at that moment. I drove home and had to park outside my garage. I have a garage that is cluttered (I want to blame someone else but it is my fault.) I was not very grateful as I picked my way through the garage maze. I was met by my dog as I entered the house. He needed to go out and do his business but would not due to the rain. I had to get the umbrella (which was still in the car, outside of the garage, in the rain) and then walk with him into the wet grass and wait for him while I attempted to keep the rain off him, and thus not really off me. I was not grateful.

I could go on and on about not finding anything to eat in the refrigerator (that is nothing that I wanted to eat or that was already prepared), about having to empty the dryer and then putting the laundry away, about being tired from work or looking at the long list of things on my ‘to do’ list that never seem to get done. I could go on and on and on.

Gratitude. When was the last time you showed a sense of gratitude? When did you last stop and notice reasons to show appreciation or thankfulness? I know for me it is sometimes very hard. I forget all the amazing reasons I have to be grateful. For instance, take my day. First, I have a job. And not only a job, but a great job. I get paid to do something I love. Having a job reminds me that every day that I go to work I am using my amazing body. It breathes on its own, it fixes itself most of the time, it cleans out stuff that should not be in it, it houses my mind, my thoughts, my feelings, and it does this without me having to turn it on, plug it in or even knowing anything about the software that runs it. It does this and more, all by itself.

Beyond having a job, I have a car that starts, a body that is water repellant, two amazing kids who have graduated from college and are employed, an amazing wife, a garage large enough for all kinds of stuff, not to mention a dog that always greets me no matter what kind of day it is. The list of reasons to be grateful is long.

Last winter I joked with someone that while we were complaining about how cold it was, soon we would be complaining about how hot it is. We never seem to be happy. We forget to be grateful.

I know that there are reasons to be sad, angry, hurt and so on, but while these feelings have a basis in reality, it seems that we forget that we can look at the same thing and see it in different ways. They rain that forces umbrellas to be used, is the same rain that nourishes the crops that feed us all. The same rain, but we can look at it in very different ways.

May you be blessed with reasons to be grateful and when the reasons are few, may you see that which you are missing and find then find reason to rejoice.

Pastor Fred Rilling

St. John’s Lutheran Church


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