Start each day with courage
I just woke up.
Now, sitting before my computer, as I do early most mornings, I ask myself before sunrise what brings me joy.
First thought: I am here. I’m still alive!
Second: It’s 23 degrees outside. Our power is not out. The space heater in my little computer room keeps me toasty warm. I remember as a little boy visiting my great-aunt Bertha out in the country. She had no indoor plumbing. She had to walk out the back door to an outhouse about 100 steps away to relieve herself. I remember thinking, however inconvenient in summer, how much worse that’s going to be in cold winter.
Third: How luxurious is it to open the refrigerator door and remove cold, high-pulp orange juice, hazelnut-flavored coffee creamer and a gallon of 2% milk, set them on the counter, take from our stuffed cupboard the Quaker oat squares, pour them into a little bowl, add milk and indulge? What a privilege to be born into these times!
Fourth: Perusing the internet, I learn something new about the least known Bronte girl, Anne. In the year her two famous sisters, Charlotte and Emily, and her only brother, Branwell, died of tuberculosis, Anne, the last to die, leaving Charlotte alone, whispered her last words, “Take courage.” There’s my takeaway sermon for today.
I know how burdensome life is for many, having worked 30 years as a hospital chaplain. Work was listening to children and adults whose lives were greatly compromised or cut short after the worst had befallen them.
My most unforgettable patient was a dying woman, who, when I asked what she had learned most from her long ordeal, whispered, “Gratitude … for simple things … like clean sheets and ice water.”