Friday, 19 October 2012

Just One Word of Advice

While eating a piece of toast all smeared with honey the other day (and butter), I was reminded of a childhood memory. When I visited my grandparents, I would climb up on their kitchen counter and help myself to their soda crackers and cover them with honey and eat them. Sometimes I would eat them right there while sitting on the counter and sometimes I would fill a plate and take them somewhere else to eat them and then go back for more when I was done. I love honey and I loved my grandparents and on that gray, rainy day while sitting with Mike eating my toast, I got a little choked up and with one of those smiles you can’t contain, I told him about my memories of soda crackers and honey on my grandma’s kitchen counter.

This fond memory filled my heart with joy and brought a sense of thankfulness. Joy and thankfulness go hand in hand and I had to wonder if I was really experiencing those things very much lately. Sure, I thank the Lord every day for a big long list of things. I raddle that list off and quickly move on to my bigger list of requests; I have it down to a science.

I wrote in my blog post Mike’s Glass is Half Full, how Mike had said one night shortly after his diagnosis that he was thankful for everything, even the things he didn’t want. That has stuck with me and has caused me to check my own attitude. Mike wasn’t thankful for something he didn’t want, like ALS because he was going to lose the use of his arms and legs and because his speech was going to be greatly impaired and because swallowing was going to become a huge issue…of course not! What he went on to say, was that he was thankful because ALS was going to cause him to rely more on God. Mike was wise and right; here we are a year and a half later and ALS has caused us to rely more on God.

1 Thessalonians 5:16 – 18 says: Be joyful always, pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Having ALS is a real bummer, and there are a lot of people whose circumstances are way worse. It’s like, “really?” “I have to give thanks in all circumstances?”  “And, I have to be joyful too?” “Wow, that’s a tall order.” I’m pretty sure that’s why the ‘pray continually’ is in there becasue we couldn't do it on our own, not without the help of the Lord.

When our son, Nathan first started playing hockey, Mike and I would give him advice before every game. “Keep your head up.” “Stay close to your man.” “Pass the puck.” “Encourage your team mates,” and so on. Eventually, there was nothing we could say, he did all of those things and more….better than we could expect.  So, this was the advice I started giving him, “Every time you step out on that ice, give thanks to the Lord.” Then it just became, “Give thanks”. After a while, all I had to say was; “just one word of advice Nathan” and he would say “yes mom”.  Later, I used the same “Just one word of advice” with Madison before every hockey game and I still do. An attitude of gratitude was something we taught our children would serve them well in life…in sports, in work, in relationships - in the good times and the really tough times.

The other day shortly after I finished my delicious toast and after I finished reminiscing about my grandparent’s place and the crackers and honey I ate on their kitchen counter, I checked my Facebook page and found a message from Madison. This was her message:
           She said - My tape job this weekend (a picture of her in her dressing room getting her stick ready before her game)

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