An elderly man in a motorized chair sat at the head of the Thanksgiving table. Contentment wasn’t a gift he’d enjoyed in the first eighty-four years of life.

He honestly could do almost anything. Name any skill – he probably had it. Which peeved a bunch of folks, and often left him a miserable person to be around. If he was capable of almost anything, then he wondered how much was enough? If he could do something, shouldn’t he?

He was always reaching. Stretching. Trying to harness his world. He didn’t know peace, contentment, or grace.

Why didn’t his children always do as he thought they should? If he was so capable, why couldn’t he control them? His inability to control the world ate up much of the joy he should have experienced. The failures of his children were his failures.

The failures were largely (but not always) in his eyes alone. Disapproval was his byword, aggressively delivered. What would people think? Maybe he even wondered what God thought.

I’m one of his two children – the one who confounded him most often. Because, in many ways I’m a lot like him.

God’s Endless Grace

Gathering around the dining table, the difference between my father and me was God’s grace. I’d surrendered years earlier. My father thought he had, but had yet to discover the peace and joy Christ offers. Now. Not someday.

My husband was asked to offer the blessing. What followed was a moment I will never forget, and foreshadowed what was to come.

This prickly and sometimes bitter old man surprised us with this poem. May it bless you as it did me.

He was transformed.

Drinking from My Saucer

I’ve never made a fortune
and it’s probably too late now.
But I don’t worry about that much,
I’m happy anyhow.

And as I go along life’s way,
I’m reaping better than I sowed.
I’m drinking from my saucer,
‘Cause my cup has overflowed. 

I don’t have a lot of riches,
and sometimes the going’s tough.
But I’ve got loved ones around me,
and that makes me rich enough.

I thank God for his blessings,
and the mercies He’s bestowed.
I’m drinking from my saucer,
’cause my cup has overflowed.

I remember times when things went wrong,
My faith wore somewhat thin.
But all at once the dark clouds broke,
and the sun peeped through again.

So God, help me not to gripe about
the tough rows that I’ve hoed.
I’m drinking from my saucer,
‘Cause my cup has overflowed.

If God gives me strength and courage,
when the way grows steep and rough.
I’ll not ask for other blessings,
I’m already blessed enough.

And may I never be too busy,
to help others bear their loads.
Then I’ll keep drinking from my saucer,
‘Cause my cup has overflowed.

Author unknown.

Transformed by Gratitude

My father lived another three years, passing away in May 2016. He lost complete use of his legs and most of his hands. Increasing weight brought on severe diabetes and neuropathy. He knew intense frequent pain.

But the frustration and discontent of a lifetime disappeared. Love replaced judgment.

My father isn’t the first to be grateful for disability. It removes the pressure of “must do.” It forces us to deal with what is; limitations and imperfection.

This poem changed the course of my father’s life and mine. Increasing disability requires more care. Living only four hours away from he and his wife, I was the closest of the three siblings – two whole and one step.

God expects us to honor our parents, regardless of our history. How that works out differs with every story.

When my father read this poem I couldn’t say I loved him. I liked him. We’d built a solid friendship over recent decades. But love? That might have been a stretch.

Gratitude is powerful. It changes our perspective from what we think, what we do, and what we want, to humble thanksgiving for the free gift of grace.

I was privileged to be at his side when he passed. God blessed me with an amazing gift of grace and gratitude.

I loved him. I miss him.

 

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord
Forever.

– Psalm 23:5-6

The video at the top of the post is a scooter race between my dad and step-mother. A lovely, fun memory!

 

 

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