Saturday, March 4, 2017

Celebration

We wake up every morning, breathing and with our hands full of blessings. We are alive but some days we walk around like we have nothing to live for.
I climbed the jungle gym at the park and although I’ve gotten much taller, I knew the top would still provide exactly what I needed—a new perspective. Sometimes all we need is to look at things a little differently.
Mine has been reluctantly off lately. In my quiet time this week I read a line from Jesus Calling that seemed to be written just for me. “As you look again at the path ahead, you notice that a peaceful fog has settled over it, obscuring your view.” I wanted to tell the Lord that I was tired of fog being on my path and that I just wanted to see the panoramic view if even for a few moments, but the next line convicted those thoughts. “You can see only a few steps in front of you, so you turn your attention more fully to Me and begin to enjoy My Presence.”
The fog is apparently not meant to be a nuisance, but rather a designed teaching mechanism to focus on God when I can’t see anything else. Why can’t I seem to learn that lesson some days?
I was blessed with two really great sets of grandparents. I grew up with a unique set of memories from down in South Alabama to the backyard woods of Georgia. I am blessed to have all of my grandparents living to date, but there have been several moments that reminded us how fragile life can be. The most recent was this summer when my grandfather hung on to life in the hospital for several months after a pancreatic cancer diagnosis. It’s strange the things life teaches you amidst tragedy. You start looking at things differently.
I think my grandfather was so humbled at everything that was done for him and so full of joy about the gift of life that he wanted to do something about it. So my 81 year old grandfather decided he was going to throw himself a little party to celebrate life and thank everybody. He had good old southern BBQ, a grand cake and an old fashioned pickin’ and grinnin’.
It brought a smile to my face to think about him wanting to throw a party, but honestly I think it exemplifies the attitude we should live with everyday. As Christians we have found abundant life and that’s something to celebrate. Beyond that we wake up every morning, breathing and with our hands full of blessings. We are alive but some days we walk around like we have nothing to live for. Paul said it best in Philippians 4:12, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation…”
Our attitude and our perspective are some of the most important things we carry in this life with us and as a generation I think we are failing. We don’t embrace the joy of life, the rarity of humanity and the beauty of our God. I struggle daily, especially these days to win this battle, but I want more out of life, don’t you?
I had a creative writing professor give us an interesting assignment in college. He told my class to write about a time someone wronged us. Classmates eagerly dove into the assignment. Pencils and pens flew across notebooks as we were quick to call out those who made our lives miserable. After reading a few, my teacher smiled and announced that we had to now reverse the perspective and write from the point of view of that same person we had just wrote about. And you know what; I have never forgotten that assignment. What a valuable lesson in taking the time to look into the heart of someone else.
My favorite thing about people is the story they have within them and the lessons they teach. God has revealed to me more and more lately that learning from others is one of the most precious commodities about relationships. Take a page from my professor, live in celebration like my grandfather and start looking at your world a little differently. You hold the outcome to a good or bad day. Let it be that you make the difference in situations by being positive, encouraging and life giving. It may just turn your world upside down.
-Thank you to the four people I call grandparents. You’ve made my life richer, deeper and wiser. I love you all.
-Only Hope—Celebrate good times!

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