Shout with joy to the LORD, O earth!
Worship the LORD with gladness. Come before him, singing with joy.
Acknowledge that the LORD is God! He made us, and we are his. We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and bless his name.
For the LORD is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation.
Last Monday I enjoyed the opportunity to visit an old friend. It’s okay to call him that—after all, he’s 99 years old! I’ve known Alf Bayne—founder of Camp Homewood on Quadra Island, BC—for thirty-five years. And all the while, I’ve known him to be a person who demonstrates gratitude.
Several years ago I visited him in the hospital after he broke his pelvis. His lunch arrived while I was there. One of his roommates stared at his own plate and grimaced. Another one voiced his complaint. But not Alf.
Alf waited until the gal who’d delivered the lunch trays stepped outside the room. That’s when he said in a voice meant to be heard by anyone within earshot, “Fruit cocktail? Yum! I love fruit cocktail. And roast beef and mashed potatoes? How lucky can a man be?”
I laughed, and Alf grinned. “I just want the staff to know I’m thankful for everything they’re doing for me while I’m here,” he said. His eyes twinkled.
The twinkle wasn’t there on Monday. Alf, now living in a senior’s residence, was sitting on the couch in his one room apartment. “I can’t walk very well anymore,” he said. “The staff help me get dressed in the morning, and then they set me here. This is where I stay. Anything I do must be within arm’s reach.” He pointed at his television set, his Bible, and a couple of Christian books nearby.
Alf asked about our family and ministry. And then he said, ““I’m old, and I can’t do much anymore, but I’m grateful for God’s goodness to me over the years. I’m especially thankful for Kathleen—she checks on me every evening.” (Kathleen adopted Alf and his wife many years ago. She’s the daughter they never had).
He paused, and then he said, “You know—thankfulness is really a choice, isn’t it? We can choose to complain and wish things were different, or we can be grateful. I choose to be grateful.”
When the time came to say goodbye, I hugged Alf and kissed him on the top of his head—small gestures but heartfelt towards this gentle man who’s impacted my life. How I’d love to grow old maintaining the same attitude as his. The secret? Remembering and applying his words of wisdom: “You know—thankfulness is really a choice, isn’t it? We can choose to complain and wish things were different, or we can be grateful. I choose to be grateful.”
#bgbg2 #gratitude #GiveThanks