I am struck today by how inadequate I can feel in my ability to truly offer my thanks and gratitude to those who give so much to me and to my family. A few examples come to mind:
After two long and I am sure exhausting weeks of helping us out, my mom left last night to return home to Seattle. For two weeks she has risen with the sun to start the day with Mercy and Aaron; she has cooked more meals and washed more clothes and dishes than even she could have imagined; and she has patiently and lovingly served me throughout my not always easy recovery. How do we adequately honor her sacrifice and servanthood? Those simple words, “thank you”, can feel like such a small thing to offer in the face of so much love and generosity.
We saw a friend today who has consistently chosen to love our family with astounding generosity. I have learned much from this friend and her husband about what it looks like to have access to resources and yet to hold so loosely to them. In a culture of so much accumulation and hoarding, they have been a witness to us of another way to live. We recently received a gift from these friends that was the answer to an outrageous prayer whispered with mostly disbelief that such a thing could come to pass. As I sat with this friend this morning, I was struck by how impossible it feels to say thank you for their kindness in sharing our family’s burdens as if they were their own.
And lastly, when we found out that I would once again face a six-week recovery period where I would be restricted from lifting my big kids, one of my friends here responded without pause: “Sign me up for two days a week!” This is the same friend who has tirelessly shopped for us, who has spent two days a week at our house (and sometimes three!) the entire span of my bed-rest period, and who always made sure we had enough fans when the heat got bad, etc. This is also the friend who is herself displaced from her home right now due to a remodel and who leads the board of a non-profit while running our church nursery and hosting monthly block club meetings. And all of this on top of being a great mom to a busy two-year-old. When I think about all that she gives up and the ways she chooses to inconvenience herself and her family for the sake of serving ours, I again find myself speechless. There are not “thank yous” enough.
In thinking about this, I was struck by how worship feels (or should feel). Do we regularly experience worship as a time and place where we are left speechless in the face of generosity and sacrifice that is incomprehensible? And do we know how to experience this together, as a community, a people, and not as an auditorium filled with dimmed lights and closed eyes and lots of individual reflection?
I guess the harder question even is whether our entire lives as Christians are marked by this awareness, this recognition of what we have received? And too, what are the ways that God wishes to be thanked? Singing songs where we say “thank you” is certainly good, but it dare not stop there. There is a way that those whose debts are forgiven live differently because of it.