I am grateful for the determined manner in which my parents approached the issue of gratitude. You see gratitude may begin as an emotion but it can only be properly fulfilled by an expression. Thus my parents were quick to ask, “What do you say?” when someone had bestowed a gift or a favor. I knew exactly how I should respond…or else!
Thus that habit remains with me, and I believe it is more than a good practice… it is a godly practice. Our forbears knew the importance of giving thanks unto the Lord, and our annual Thanksgiving Holiday is a reminder of their regard (and God’s) for the simple practice of gratitude.
I kissed Jeannie when she awoke from her nap… and her water broke. That’s really the way it happened! But I don’t think it was my kiss (well…maybe, a little). IT WAS TIME FOR THAT BABY TO BE BORN! This young seminary pastor and his wife hurried to the car, drove as fast as we could to the Baylor Hospital in Dallas, Texas, and soon found ourselves waiting…and waiting…and waiting. Believe me, I even tried a few more kisses to no avail.
After what seemed an eternity, Jeannie was wheeled from the room and I was escorted to another. Back then they didn’t let the dads participate in the delivery…so I joined some nervous first-timers like myself, and a few other veterans who thumbed through old magazines and smiled knowingly at “the kid.” One at a time, nurses came to call the happy fathers back to join their wives and newborns until I was the only one left in the room. Little did I know that I was witnessing a behavioral characteristic that attends that child until today.
Fifty years ago, August 20, Jeannie and I set out on what we often called “one glorious gospel adventure.” That young couple you see there in the picture had absolutely no idea we were setting out on the high seas of an adventure that would take us to outstanding schools, wonderful churches, dozens of countries, and end with the privilege of serving the finest missionary team anywhere in the world. Throw in four kids, twenty-five grand kids, and three great grand kids, and you’ll understand why we often used the word “adventure.”
Only one year ago, my world as I had known it for almost forty-nine years took a sudden and dramatic turn. Only hours earlier, Jeannie had looked up at me from her pillow and whispered the last six words she would speak in this life, “Love you! Love you! Love you! I had gathered her in my arms and said, “Jeannie! Run to Jesus!” Now, she had done just that!