Thursday, January 14, 2010

Wong Way

This afternoon I went to my mailbox at work. Lo and behold, there was a piece of returned mail. When I looked at the address on the envelope it had a house number and then "Wong Way". As in, 2222 Wong Way. WONG WAY. Is it wong that I laughed my guts out? Is it wong, or is it wight? I don't know. It just makes me realize what a gift it is to be able to laugh and to find pleasure in things that may appear to be small and insignificant.

It wasn't the easiest of days. One of my residents was not doing well and last I saw him, his lovely wife was on her way to take him to the VA hospital. He didn't look well and he, who usually is heavy on charm and rich in smiles, was not very responsive. My heart ached for him and for his sweetheart. When I got home tonight, there were some little challenges waiting for me there. Dark clouds hovering, with storms in the distance. Then there was the news of Haiti...where our sponsored child, Remise, lives. Is she still alive? If she is alive, after the devastation of the earthquake, are her parents gone? Her siblings? Her home?

I consider anger, tears and frustration and then remind myself that with the bitter, comes the sweet. Sometimes it's harder to see when we're sinking into the relentless quicksand of sadness. Sometimes we need to look a little harder, and be willing to focus on a whole bunch of little things that help us get past some of the big nasty ones.

That said, I began to recount my day, and realized quickly that the day was full of sweetness. Laughter with my office mate about Wong Way...a lunch time walk with co-workers, up a hill and around the fountain at LMU on a beautiful day...a beautiful 10 month old girl named Penelope in our lobby...coming across a piece of paper with movie titles written by my Dad and the swelling of my heart at that remembrance...the opportunity to offer comfort to a friend who was to sing along with enroute to work and a sunset over the ocean as I drove along the Coast on my way home...Cajun salmon for dinner....frozen lemonade for dessert...a precious thank you note from my nephew Jack, thanking us for a gift card and telling us he'd purchased gifts for his mom and brother with it...all good, sweet things to be thankful for. And, I am.

Thank you God, for helping me to look beyond those things that threaten to destroy my joy, wipe me out, leave me desolate, discouraged and sad. Thank you for reminding me of all the sweet things. The tender moments. The warm smiles. The healing of laughter. The love that is irresistable. Thank you that although the earth shakes and people are sick and sorrowful and angry, that You, oh God never let go and you never give up. You are on the throne and You are good.

And God...please take care of Hank...and Remise. In Jesus Name, Amen

Friday, January 1, 2010

New Year's Day

Out with the old and in with the new. Twenty Ten. One of my goals for the new year is to begin this blog, and to document the struggle to maintain an attitude of gratitude in a world that constantly tells us we don't have enough and, that what we do have is substandard and not worth appreciating.

It is a long held belief of mine that to be happy, one must have a deep sense of gratitude; not just for the things we possess, the status we attain, the jobs we hold, the cars we drive, the homes we live in, the people we associate with , the education we complete or the awards on our walls, but for the simplest of gifts and the greatest of gifts, that are not always valued in our culture.

And, so, today I invite you to join me on the road to gratitude. In plenty and in want. May we be like the Apostle Paul who said so eloquently, "I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to 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, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything in him who gives me strength. " ...Philippians 4:11-13 NIV

An attitude of gratitude, a grateful heart. That is the goal.