I came down with covid last week. I am, thankfully, improving now and due to vaccines and boosters never experienced any severe symptoms. I do wonder if I will deal with lingering fatigue and if I might later learn of other impacts of the virus on my body yet unknown to me. Several times I found myself pondering the fact that I carried a virus within my body that killed countless people and severely sickened many others before me. I also noted to myself the power of vaccines and my immune system to both keep me alive and fight off the virus and return me to full health. All in all it is a lot to consider especially when you are sick and tired. For the moment I am simply grateful to be regaining wellness and strength and to be surrounded by the good compassion, care and prayers of others.
I seem to learn more so with each passing day, month and year that life is best lived with good doses of humility and gratitude. With so much to comprehend and understand; with so much to figure out and determine; with so much dependence upon others for life’s necessities and life’s many joys; with so much realization that I am small and though capable of much I am limited as well—I get it more and more each day that I need to approach living with a great deal of humbleness. Too, so much—and I do mean so much—comes my way as sheer gift. Sure, I work at things; sure, I gain some things through fortune and privilege; but, for the most part, the essentials of life are gifted to me. This leaves me realizing and wanting to be more grateful. How can I not live life without an enormous volume of appreciation for God and others?
I am not one for telling people what to do—for one, it’s not the best strategy. But if I would—and I suspect that I kind of am now—tell you what to do I would tell you live life with humbleness and gratitude. Begin with accepting your limitations. From there look at your life as a culmination of many good gifts brought to you both by the miraculous work of our Creator and by the generosity of others. Then commit to keeping a grateful attitude. I think once you realize just how little is really in your personal control and how really good God and others are gratitude will come more easily.
It seems to me that those who are good at gratitude are also good at giving. That is crucial. Since we are all so dependent on each other we really need to be willing to give—even given sacrificially at times. So, it is important for us to recognize the good gifts we receive from others, but it is equally important that we recognize the significance of our giving in the lives of others.
All this does require a certain degree of mindfulness. I need to be mindful of the generosity of God and others toward me while being mindful of the needs of others and how I need to respond to those needs. So, I guess that makes a third thing I am telling you to do—be mindful.
One of the lessons of the Scriptures is God’s mindfulness for God’s people. This is seen from the beginning and fully illuminated in the person of Jesus Christ. We can indeed describe Jesus as mindful, humble and grateful and by doing so can claim him as model of how to live these virtues. Consider for yourself how Jesus exhibited mindfulness, humbleness and gratitude; then consider how you can emulate those in your own life.
As days, months and years continue to unfold before me I do sincerely hope that I can live life with a greater mindfulness; a consistent humbleness; and an ever-deepening gratitude. May that be true for you too. And as others reflect upon our living may they see and name how we walked in the way of Jesus and be drawn to living in that same way.