My life now has some significant chronological context and I can look back and think about what I've learned and how I can pass that on as part of the legacy of human experience. It's nothing terribly profound, but still important. Some of the things I have on my list:
- I have real hope: This was given to me by my mother, a single-mom, who survived and thrived right after World War II when I was born and when my father deserted us to never be heard from again. Times were hard for her and survival seemed threatened on a daily basis. But she always knew that God would provide for us. She passed that hope on to me and to others. I thank God for that.
- My wife: She loves God more than she loves me. I thank God big time for that. She can love me because she has felt that love of God the Father and his Son Jesus. This has left a lasting imprint on me and our kids. And I know that her parents reflected this divine love to her. She passed it on.
- My kids: For much of my life, the word "dad" was the equivalent of a dirty word. I would never use it and when I did, it would come out of my mouth like spittle on a hot day. My kids changed that. I did not have an earthly father that had any credibility but I was given the gift of being allowed to be one. Now "dad" is a name I wear with honor. And for the past five months, I have added "granddad to my list of names.
- My church: I've struggled with the church for most of my life. I got God, but I didn't get the church. It seemed like it was just a service you went to on Sunday. I've wrestled with that for a long time, but recently it has been dramatically a lot less. We are attending a church where the Gospel in presented in a clear way, but the pastor helps you take the Cross into real everyday life.
Lots of other things cross my mind that I am thankful for. Our home. Our neighbors. My pension. Social Security. Reasonably good health. Eyedrops to treat my glaucoma. Our Honda Civic that was built in Indiana. Ada Bible Church. My son-in-law. My aunts and uncles. My cousins. Our Internet. My MacBook Air. Great Lakes Red wine. My snowblower. So on and so forth and not necessarily in that order.