Being Grateful and Hopeful
Many of you know by now that I had a bout with appendicitis in late November while I was in Baltimore for the Society of Biblical Literature Annual Meeting. On the second day of the conference, I went to the Emergency Room of a hospital in close proximity and received the diagnosis of appendicitis. The appendix was removed the following day and the day after that I was home. My recovery period has gone very well and I am grateful for the love and support I have received from the Green Tree congregation.
When such situations occur, you do what you need to do in order to get through them and onto the other side. And when I found myself on the other side, in a state of recovery, it gave me a chance to pause and be thankful for what I have and for how God works in my life. I am thankful for my roommate at the conference, Bob Neff, who had the wisdom regarding when to seek medical attention. I am thankful for my wife Pat who jumped in the car when she heard the diagnosis and took care of me while in the hospital. I am thankful for my siblings and their spouses who visited me and Pat in the hospital and checked in through the telephone. I am thankful for the medical staff and surgeons at Mercy Hospital. And as the word got out, people from various aspects and chapters of my life reached out simply to let me know that they cared and they wanted me to be well again. For those of you who have been in such situations, you know that this kind of support is very helpful.
But my introspection went deeper than that. I found myself being very grateful for the life that I have and for those who are in my life. And I found myself being grateful for God’s presence in my life and how he interacts with me when I choose to be open to such interaction. I found myself being grateful for the career path I have followed and for my church family here at Green Tree.
Such introspection has been helpful to me as we have moved through the Christmas season and look forward to another year on the horizon. There are a lot of different ways in which we can enter a New Year. We can enter the coming year frustrated and broken from the year we are leaving behind. We can enter the coming year with apprehension and caution. We can enter the coming year with fear and trepidation. I can honestly say that I have entered previous New Years with all of the above feelings at one time or another. This year, however, I am looking forward to 2014 by simply being grateful. And I anticipate with eagerness how God will lead me on in the near future. I only hope and pray that I have the wisdom and courage to follow. I also hope and pray that all of you will join me so we can follow God’s leading together.