At church on Sunday morning, Miss Katherine walked sprightly down the side aisle. “How are you?” I asked. She responded with a brief but honest comment about her 94-year-old body’s less-than-perfect condition; and then she added, “And thankful.”
In less than twenty words, she illustrated an excellent way to communicate. She was both open and positive. I have a hard time relating to people who are always and only positive. I don’t feel as if I have an invitation to share needs with them. On the opposite end of the spectrum, few of us enjoy being around people who don’t seem to have anything positive to say about their situation.
You know the old description of some people seeing a situation as a glass half empty while others see the same situation as a glass half full. Miss Katherine gave me a half-full summary with the added bonus of gratitude. Earlier on Sunday morning when Ray, Mother, and I left for church, I spotted these two beautiful spider webs.
I suppose some people might see them as works of art while others see them as something to clean off the shepherd’s hook. Miss Katherine’s answer was in keeping with the attitude Paul told the Philippians to have when they talked to God. He told them:
Be anxious for nothing,
but in everything by prayer and supplication
let your requests be made known to God.
God’s gift of prayer is an invitation to be open and honest about our needs. That alone deserves our gratitude, not to mention all the other things God does for us. He wants us to express that gratitude.
Our children need from us the same thing we need from God. They need an open, all-the-time invitation to be open and honest about what is in their hearts. At the same time, we should teach them not simply to complain while we help them to cultivate a grateful heart. Our own honesty combined with grateful hearts is a powerful example to them.
Devote yourselves to prayer,
keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving . . .