Today’s Word from Pastor Jim

“Rejoice in the Lord always, again I will say rejoice… for I have learned to be content with whatever I have. I know what it is to have little, and I know what it is to have plenty. In any and all circumstances, I have learned the secret of being well-fed and of going hungry, of having plenty and of being in need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” The Apostle Paul

“Keep your thoughts positive because your thoughts become your words. Keep your words positive because your words become your behavior. Keep your behavior positive because your behavior become your habits. Keep your habits positive because your habits become your values. Keep your values positive because your values become your destiny.” Mahatma Ghandi

I mentioned my Aunt Alice in my morning writing yesterday. My grandfather’s sister was a strong Norwegian woman who had been raised on a farm. She married Louie Lee and gave birth to my cousin David. My Aunt Alice would greet me and my siblings each week at the Sunday School opening. She would hold our cheeks, give us a kiss, and speak good news: “Aunt Alice loves you, and Jesus loves you.”

My Uncle Louie was struck and killed by a train. The gravel roads that crisscrossed the farm fields of Northern Illinois were not well marked. There were not warning lights or indicators of approaching trains. Aunt Alice became a single mother. She never lost her faith.

David, her only child, was diagnosed with cancer. It was a brave fight, but the disease would win. My aunt would stand at graveside once again as the 23rd Psalm was read by a Lutheran Pastor: “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.”

Alice Lee was an inspiration to me. She was there when I was baptized, confirmed, married, and ordained. She would always greet me with a kiss and a smile. In her final years, she lost her vision. Now blind, she could no longer live in her apartment. So, she was moved to the County Home – the poor farm, as it was known in DeKalb, Illinois.

My father and I went to visit her there. We checked at the nursing station. The nurse said, “She is in room 24, but good luck finding her; she is never in her room.” When we did track her down, the old, blind widow who buried her only son, was sitting with another resident, sharing laughter and prayer.

She told us that there were so many lonely people in the County Home and she had decided that the best way that she could serve was to make the rounds each day and visit with the residents. She smiled and gave me a kiss. She loved me, and Jesus loved me.

The isolation, anxiety, and loneliness that we are feeling today are real. But we need not be defined by what we have lost. We are not alone. We can choose an attitude of gratitude. We can count blessings and ride this disruption out knowing that better days are coming.

Some quotes for your day:

“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at stars.” Oscar Wilde.

“It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.” Epictetus.

“Two things define you: your patience when you have nothing and your attitude when you have everything.” George Bernard Shaw.

May God bless your day!

Pastor Jim