There is a woman at church who stands through all of worship whether or not anyone else is standing. Because she can. She speaks slowly and deliberately, with strong opinions and deep compassion. Words do not come easy but all the thoughts are there. She can’t remember her address but can show you the way to take her home. Our pastor told me that she told him he needs to be more patient. He smiled, agreed and says he knows that is true.
She was in a horrific car accident a few years ago. Her baby died in that accident. She lost part of her motor skills and part of her ear. Her husband divorced her. They told her she would never walk or even stand again. But she can. And she does.
She stands in the front row at church every week, with her crooked, shy and beautiful smile and gives Him praise for who He is.
Just down the row from her is a developmentally delayed man who sings loud and long. He may be a verse behind the rest of us with each song, but I have a feeling that his spirit has most of us beat by leaps and bounds. He points one finger up to the sky, as if to remind God he is singing to Him. He reminds us all who we are singing to.
Last week for whatever reason, there were not enough communion servers in our Saturday night service. Seeing this, a man with a withered hand and a severe limp, made his way to the front to help serve communion. Every year, he goes on our church missions trips, overlooking the obstacles – instead, always ready to help however he can. I have always heard he is one of the hardest working team members.
Last weekend we attended the funeral of a 50 year old teacher and coach who looked the picture of health. He was an inspiration to so many students, athletes, parents and peers. No one could have imagined that his life would be cut so short. He was strong. He was determined. He was fit.
Every one of these people have inspired me. Every one of them reminds me that we can not look at another’s outward appearance to know the depth of their character or the level of their influence. My two friends who sit on the front row and worship with abandon, not caring what anybody else thinks? They have powerfully influenced me. The man who stepped forward to help serve communion? I had him in a class I facilitated at church. He is humble, teachable and deeply thoughtful. He is quick to listen and slow to speak.
The funeral last weekend? A vivid reminder that we are to live each day to the fullest; that we are to love each other as best we can, and that there is no excuse not to.
We know God does not look at our outward appearance but looks at our hearts. I can clearly see why.
Abundance is: the ability to give thanks, despite the circumstances and regardless of our limitations. Because we can!
Doing What I Can With You,