For the last few weeks, our whole church—the weekend service, as well as our small group—has been wrestling with some difficult topics, including mental and emotional health. For many this is a dark journey with many unwelcomed twist and turns. Life happens. We go on our un-merry way, hoping for the best and are often disappointed at the result. We ask, “How did we get here?” But we keep on pushing and life just keeps on happening. Sometimes the dark is a result of my own doing, by my own hands. Other times, it’s by the hands of someone or something else that I have no control over. Either way, we feel trapped, anxious and overwhelmed about it.
I see this struggle in the beautiful people who we serve and who happen to be poor, near and around the Monroe Circle area. I also see this struggle among my family, friends and especially in me. How will we/I get out of this spiraling-down decaying hole?
Last weekend, Dr. Bob Laurent exclaimed, “Choose your feelings!” Does it all come down to just that? A choice? Yes! I still own that. I will choose my feelings. Feelings that are based on the truth and not the lie that I’ve been fed, the lie that I’ve embraced, the lie that I’ve lived, and the lie that I’ve believed. I will believe this truth: I am good enough.
I will also choose gratitude. Like a breath of fresh air and a glass of cool refreshing water, that’s what gratitude is. Those of us who do the kind of work that I do often are so overwhelmed with the struggle that we forget about gratitude. Recently, I had two encounters that were like music to my soul. The first, a well-dressed, suit-and-tie wearing, pleasant gentleman who regularly attends our weekly community Gathering offered this gift to me by saying, “Thank you for what you all do for us. You enhance this community and we are all the better for it.” Man, I needed that.
Two days later, a lady arrived to our Financial Literacy class 30 minutes early to let us know that she couldn’t be at the class that night because she had gotten a job and was to report to work in just a little while. She also wanted to drop off $5 to be deposited in her new savings account that the bank we partner with opens for those who attend the class. But then she changed her mind and said, “Pastor, you all do so much for us and I was blessed with this job. I want to give this $5 to you all to help out.” Thank you, Lord, for the gift of gratitude.
Today, I choose my feelings. I choose the truth. And, I choose gratitude—to come out of darkness and take steps toward the light—each day. The question is: what choice will you make?