When my time on earth comes to an end, I would like people to remember me by my motto: a countenance of joy and an attitude of gratitude.
It wasn’t always this way. Being the youngest of eight siblings, I guess you could say I was spoiled.
When things didn’t go my way, well, I was a “crabapple” – my siblings’ endearing way of saying I was a grumpy, grumbling grouch.
In my formative years, my attitude caused many problems. By early adulthood, I was headed on a course of destruction.
Finally, at 27, I came to the end of the self I had come to exist with. That is when I gave my heart to the Lord Jesus Christ. Forty-plus years later – and major sculpting by the master artist (which is ongoing) – life is joy-filled with much to be grateful for.
Each morning, though harder to roll out of bed, I’m truly thankful for another day of life. I look out my window to see the sun reflecting on the lake, the trees waving “good morning” and the birds flittering about. My heart instantly fills with joy.
Having been blessed to do several mission projects in different parts of the world, I am extremely appreciative that I was born in America. When I hear things on the news regarding government waste and policies, I could easily lose the joy.
Then I remind myself that I’ve never once in my life had to worry about my next meal – as my Sudanese sons did for so many years. When my to-do list becomes cumbersome, I need only think of the African women I saw carrying heavy loads on their heads. Or the sweet lady in her village dwelling trying to keep her abode clean, even though it had a dirt floor.
Then there is our dear Romanian friend who in his youth was forced to watch the Communist government bulldoze his family farmhouse. I never want to take for granted the freedoms we enjoy here.
Even on days when I’m tired or not feeling well, I try to smile at people passing by. I try to encourage friends and acquaintances. In my own small way, I try to pass on some of the joy and gratitude I feel inside.
Maybe by trying to spread it around a bit, their countenance will be one of joy, and just maybe, other hearts may acquire an attitude of gratitude. Never again do I wish to revert back to being a crabapple.
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