Our grandson wants to major in philosophy when he gets to college next fall. A few days ago, we got to sample what kind of philosophy we might expect from his one-of-a-kind brain. It's not exactly Socrates. But it's interesting. And within the reach of the common man.
He received some gifts for graduation. So here's the philosophical gem he spoke to his mother...
"You live. You die. And in the middle, you write thank you cards."
Profound. In its own way.
Then I got to thinking about what he said. And how, in a way, it's true. Or should be. Not necessarily the cards. But the "thank yous."
We're all like that infamous turtle on top of the fencepost. There's no way he could have gotten there on his own. Someone had to help him get there.
Woven generously through the tapestry of my life are those people who God has used to elevate my life. My Mom and Dad, who made me feel valued and who celebrated the gifts God has given me. Above all, my precious Karen. No man could have asked for a wife more loyal, more willing to love me in those times when there wasn't much to love. And who faithfully was God's mirror to show me the me I didn't always want to see. So I could become more like Jesus.
I am - we all are - a river made up of hundreds of people who were the tributaries to make us what we are today. My "loyal like Mom" children and grandchildren, from whom I am constantly learning. Faithful friends, "cheerleaders," prayer warriors, pastors, youth leaders, loyal siblings, teachers - the more I think, the more I have to thank.
But have I? Before they're gone? A call, a note, a text, a card - maybe my thank you would be just the encouragement they need to get back in the ring for another round. Or to remind them that their life is, in fact, making a difference.
In a sense, my whole life should be a walking, talking thank you card. The return on their investment in me. "To whom much is given, much is required" (Luke 12:48).
But no one has invested more in me than my Jesus. "He loved me and gave Himself for me" (Galatians 2:20). In the Bible's words, "You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price" (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). The shedding of holy blood. The thorns. The nails. The spear. And the unspeakable soul-agony of His Father turning His back on His Son - so He would never have to turn His back on me.
And if that weren't enough, "Out of the fullness of His grace, we have all received one blessing after another" (John 1:16). Every day - all through each day - there have been God-sightings. If I have eyes to see them. The text that came at just the right time. The flowers beautifying the yard and reminding me of the Artist who made them. The Scripture or song that goes right to my need. Waking up healthy. Waking up.
Every day, a "day the Lord has made" (Psalm 118:24). Not the weather. Not the doctor. Not the demands. Not the finances. The Lord. He designs each day as threads - some darker, some bright - in the grand tapestry He is weaving in my life.
I get it. What David said. "I will praise the Lord at all times. I will constantly speak His praises." Yes, there is always something to trust Him for. But there is always something to thank Him for.
And the real "thank you card" is my life. I guess some thank you cards have legs to walk in His footsteps. And hands to do what He would do in someone's life. And lips to tell the Hope Story of my life that only a Savior like Jesus could have written.
A life lived as my "thank you" to Jesus is my little gift to Him for His incalculable gift to me.
The Bible reveals that heaven is filled with praises for the One called "the Lamb who was slain." So I might as well get used to living my thanks to Him. You might say it's heaven practice.
So, my philosopher grandson, what made me laugh at first has now made me think. "We live. We die. And in between a thank you card."
Called my life.