Today there is beautiful sunshine outside my window, there is certain hope that Spring will come, that we can say goodbye to winter at last. It seems that each winter we say it is the worst we have ever seen, only to be topped by the next year’s snow totals. We do a lot of complaining and grousing during the dark and dreary days of winter, but do we do an equal amount of giving thanks when we feel the warmth of the sun on our faces on days like today? It seems to me that if there were an award for the best complainer, the competition would be great. Or, as I have often said, there are those who think that complaining and sulking is an Olympic event, and they are “going for the gold”. Yes it is very easy to see the bad or difficult side of life. But it is also easy to grow into the attitude of joy and thankfulness. One just needs to have the desire to change, to be, as we said in the sixties, be an “up-beat” person. When you think about it, you will realize all the wonderful things you have to be thankful for, the gifts and blessings that you have been given. It becomes much more difficult to complain about the small things when you are recognizing the great things in your life.
When was the last time you took stock of your life? When was the last time you simply looked around at the people in your life? When was the last time you found yourself smiling simply because you saw a beautiful color, or noticed there was a bird in your yard? Did you notice that you could see the ground in your front yard today? Did you realize that your feet were not cold today? Did you go out of your house without a few extra layers of clothes, or leave the scarf and mittens on the hook by the back door? Did you give a thought to all those things that you have been complaining about for the last several months and think that you were not being bothered by them? We often turn the corner on a new season, or realize a dream long-held, without giving it a real thought, without giving thanks for it. God has given us the gift of seasons so that we can see the stages that our own lives go through. If we always were in Spring, we would not know the joy of a summer’s night. If we always had summer, we would not know the beauty of the changing leaves. If we did not have winter, we would never really appreciate the first warm days of Spring. The same can be said of our lives. If we were always young and living a fast-pace life, we would not know the comfort of mid-life when we watch our relationships grow and mature. If we did not have a time in our life when friendships have been nurtured by the ups and downs of life that we have shared, we would never know just how strong we can be. The changes in seasons and the changes in our lives are a great blessing. Now we celebrate the coming of spring, warmer weather, visions of flowers and the sounds of birds in our yards. Now we give thanks for all the stages and ages of our lives. Now we put away the complaining and gripping and enjoy the world and the people around us.
Rev. Judy C. Jones
Ingenuity! You know what that is, when you realize that the plans you have made have to be changed and you use your imagination to come up with something new. Or perhaps the tools you need to complete a job are not at hand, so you make do with what you can find, or you re-invent and re-purpose items that you can find. Ingenuity is using your imagination, your resourcefulness. You may even think back to less complicated times, times when there were no computers, or Google, or even Wikipedia. I learned a lot about ingenuity from my Grandpa who could fix anything, well at least in my young eyes he could make all things new and perfect again. He knew how to put the head back on my doll so that she was still fun to play with. He could fix toy cars and trucks whose wheels had become wobbly. Later in my life I learned that he could even pull out the dent I put in my car before Dad saw it. Oh he still made me tell Dad, but with the dent repaired, it was a much less traumatic event. I even remember a time when I was in High School and a young man did not ask we to a party, Grandpa made sure that that evening there was something else special for my friends and I to do. I thought my Grandpa was the most ingenious person in the whole world, and I suppose that in my world he was.
It wasn’t until I was much older, beyond the age of playing with dolls and toy cars that I realized Grandpa’s ingenuity was really based on his love for me. You see, when you love someone you want to make things right for them. You search out ways to “fix” things or ways to make situations less painful. When you love someone you often have to put on your “thinking cap” and devise ways to make the other person’s journey through life a more pleasant experience than your own journey. We all are ingenious when it comes to showing the love we have for another person. February has been called the month of “love”, I suppose because right in the middle of February is Valentine’s Day. Now Valentine’s Day has always called us to be inventive in our show of love for another person. Oh you could go with the traditional flowers or candy, or you could give it more thought and come up with something totally unexpected. You could take the easy way around the holiday and buy a card that was written by some complete stranger, or you could whip out your creative side and write a poem, or bake some cookies, or even simply clean up around the house. Our love can be shown in so many different ways; we learned that from Jesus himself. He was able to perform great acts of healing and changing so many lives, but each person was special to him. Jesus took the measure of each person and was able to give each one the kind of love they needed. To one woman he offered a cure for a disease, to another he offered the gift of forgiveness for her sins. Jesus took time to teach great lessons on the side of a hill and then feed the hungry. Jesus even took time to have a meal with one who we may have seen as “having it all” in order to teach him how to “share it all”, how to see others through the eyes of love.
I would especially recommend that you take some time in this short month, this month we celebrate so many different kinds of love, and give some thought to those who have loved you. Perhaps you could even dust off your imagination and seek out new ways to show your love to others. Maybe you are like my Grandpa; you can fix things, even when the right tool isn’t available. Or you could find those hidden talents you have and use them to create an unforgettable experience for the folks around you. Use that imagination, ingenuity and resourcefulness to bring joy to your world. Who knows someday someone may tell the story of your love and thank you for being you.
Have a lovely February. Thanks Grandpa Crane.
Sunday Services at Christ Memorial Church, 2440 York, are at 10:30 a.m., all are welcome!