Good at Grateful

I dropped David, my blind friend, off at the airport Saturday at 5AM.

He called four hours later: “You wouldn’t believe what happened! I’m in Charlotte. The flight is a different number, but it’s the same plane. I don’t have to change planes, just change seats. Isn’t that cool?”

I rejoiced with David, realizing that I would not have called a friend to say, “I don’t have to walk off this plane and get on another.” But, for a blind person, a change is a challenge, especially in an airport. The thought creates tension for a person who can only hope they get help.

David has to memorize what he puts where. He has to memorize floor plans and where the sidewalk is uneven. He has to remember how to get places. Relationships are important to David; he remembers the names of who he meets. Not a big deal to some, huge to David.

I said on the phone, “I will start my sermon on gratitude with your plane story.”

He responded, “Good. I want to keep the thanksgiving angels busy, the ones who bring our thanks to the throne.”

I do not know if David is scripturally correct in that statement. But, I know David is good at gratitude. He is not a victim. He could be a whiner. He could blame parents, the hospital, the God who saw it all and apparently did nothing. He could feel entitled to more because he has less. Instead, he is joyful in gratitude. I want to be like David.

When David hangs up the phone, I thank God for my life, my wife, my children, my eyes, the color green, lilacs, the Christmas tree. I, too, want to keep the thanksgiving angels busy, if that’s really what they do.

Paul Anderson is married to Karen, a missionary kid from Japan. They have 6 children and 17 grandchildren. He served as pastor for 25 years at Trinity Lutheran Church in San, Pedro, Ca. In 1995 they moved to Minnesota to direct Lutheran Renewal. He enjoys writing, speaking, mentoring and traveling to minister. He is 77 and has too much fun to retire!

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