|thank you feet for not freezing off in the wind tonight|
"The opposite of grumbling is gratitude"
Quote of the night from John Mark at One, the annual gathering of all the Solid Rock locations out at Hillsboro Stadium.
Well, that and when he made a joke about Canadians only to back-pedal and wonder why, considering not only that he has some dear friends who are Canadian, but so was his grandfather.
(Probably for the same reason I make fun of Californians when I am one - sometimes we just have it coming)
But more importantly, it was an amazing evening.
I really didn't think I was going to be able to go at all because I worked today and thought there was no way I'd get out to Hillsboro before it ended.
But lo! Miracles happen!
Sure, I was about 30 minutes late to the service but I actually got there just in time for the sermon itself and, amazingly, found a seat in the near-full stadium with little trouble.
It was so incredible to see everyone there. And you know what was neat? Even with thousands of people, it didn't feel overwhelming in a bad way (it was overwhelming in the best way seeing so many people there with such joy and reverence and expectancy though!)
We continued our series on Philippians with Paul's take on how we should approach life and treat each other, with huge emphasis on gratitude. JM actually told a story of how his wife was going through the line at New Seasons (local NW grocery store, akin to Whole Foods in a lot of ways but smaller and overall better).
Apparently as Tammy checked out, the checker asked how she was doing. She responded with, "Great. I have so much to be thankful for." To which he said, "Are you serious? No one says that. Everyone has something to complain about. How are you really?" And again she said, "Great. I have so much to be thankful for."
And John Mark pointed out that in this situation, both people were right. Everyone does have something to complain about. But you know what? Everyone has something to be thankful for.
Actually, probably more than a few blessings they could stop and count if they bothered to think about it.
That's what makes all the difference. How we approach life: with grumbling or with gratitude.
And this was very convicting as well, because I've found myself exceptionally prone to grumbling lately instead of putting only good out in the world. I needed that check. And He knew it. And He called me on it, right there in the middle of Hillsboro Stadium.
I want people to know how I live my life - and Who I live my life for - both by my actions and by the words that fall from my mouth.
I want to live graciously.
1. Thank you for One. See above. Also, thank you for all the people - men, women and children alike - who made the decision to follow Christ tonight and be baptized. I think I cried every. single. time. someone slipped under the surface and came out of the water. It was so special to see that moment in each person's life! And the joy that filled that stadium tonight? Wow.
2. Thank you for Janna. I've been blessed with some truly spectacular coworkers, and if you've been reading long you already know this. I've mentioned a few of them on here by name before and now comes Janna. She started as an occasional temp and we all loved her immediately. But it wasn't until she came on more full-time as our seasonal hire this summer that I got to really know her and I find myself just loving this lady more and more each day. I am so inspired by her love for Christ, her love for her four kids, her love for her fiance, her love for everyone. You know how we're called to just love on everyone around us no matter what? Janna's got that down. Sure she's got the sass to hand it to someone when they need it, but she does it with a smile and you can just tell she's either a) doing it for your own good or b) completely kidding. Either way I just want to hug her most of the time and I'm so thankful there are people like her in this world.
3. Thank you for Michull. This one is a couple week's overdue but I realized I never wrote the timely WG before I went to Montana so allow me to include him now. A few days before I left I met Michull, Dean and Robin for dinner at our old haunt The Cheerful Tortoise. Afterward I ended up hanging out with Michull and his wee kitten Ebenezer (worth mentioning here that this is a little girl kitty) at his place. I hadn't seen the sweet digs he and Maggie set up (it's fine, it had only been oooh, a few months) and was happy to have the chance to hang out with my long lost buddy. Back when he and Jared lived together we used to hang out all the time but when I stopped to think about it, it had been over a year since we'd had the same opportunity. Thank you Mike for always being there for me, always being honest with me, and always making me laugh even when the situation, by definition, blows. You're a pretty swell fella. Luff. You.
4. Thank you for the gym. I know. But here I mean more thank you for the ability to be able to get my body in motion, work it to the point of sweat and burn and exhaustion. For a body healthy enough to do any of the mindless, hate-every-minute-of-it workout I love to gripe about but that, in light of my earlier point and at a suggestion from Janna , I will now try to change my attitude to one of pure gratitude at being able to do it at all.
5. Thank you for the sweet woman who came into the tasting room with her husband Sunday and left with such sweet hopes. This couple, an older couple, came in to taste. I was standing at the till and when I asked to see ID for his credit card he presented a military ID. I told them I'd be happy to offer them both a tasting on the house. "Oh my, thank you!" said the wife. "Oh my gosh, thank you. BOTH of you!" I replied. The husband was definitely the strong silent type, but the wife was overcome. "Oh, that is just oh, my goodness. Thank you. Oh, I remember those tours when he was gone, being home with the kids, oh..." We chatted a bit, I told her about Nathan, we laughed about the weather, and when she said she had always loved the name "Lauren"I said there are worse people to share a name with than Lauren Bacall - and that now all I needed was my Bogie! Well they went on to taste and as they left she popped over to me, pulling me into that immediate confidence that occurs when two women have a heart to heart, and promised me that my "prince charming" was on his way. "And don't you dare settle for anything less! He's out there, and he's looking for you!" she said. It was so sweet, and so sincere and in that small way it meant so much. This woman's little "blessing" meant the world to me.
6. Thank you for having so much to be thankful for. Really, that in itself is sufficient.
So kids, do me a favor, yeah? Would you do me a solid?
In the week to come, show gratitude and watch your life overflow with joy.
I promise it will be so worth it.