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Thoughts from Jodi Vande Noord

Learning Thankfulness

Great memories make for wise adults.

Thanksgiving usually brings warm thoughts of cool weather and wonderful food. It is a time when we celebrate our blessings and how faithfully God cares for His people.

But I find it difficult to feel the warm fuzzies this year. Of course at the fore front of my mind lies the condition of our community due to Covid. On top of that I just feel burned out, tired of rushing, tired of being tired. Tired of worrying about the teenagers in my house and whether they feel happy and healthy. Weary of a life where I barely see my husband and spend hours every day just driving to destinations. Wah wah wah…

A New Lesson Awaits...

Tonight my husband and I drug ourselves over to a Thanksgiving church service we really didn't feel like attending. Even this short week has been long, and we just want to sit at home. But guilt and obligation gnawed at our conscience, so we made the trek over.

We sang old traditional Thanksgiving hymns. You life long church goers know the ones. They are the songs that bring memories whether you want them to or not. Some people might feel resentment with the old songs. Others might feel warmth and love. And some might just remember church services from long ago.

The old church songs often remind me of my grandparents, and tonight their memory came alive once again. My grandparents LOVED music. I have vivid memories of them singing in church with much gusto. By no means did they mumble the song words or softly hum along. They sang with enthusiasm, energy and volume, genuinely loving the tune and loving to praise God.

While reading this, one might think my grandpa and grandma possessed singing voices angelic in nature. But I assure you that they did not. Their voices fell right in the middle of average, not offensively bad and not breathtakingly great. They both could carry a tune well and even harmonize impressively. I am sure those around them didn't always appreciate the volume, but one couldn't argue the joy that surrounded them. They genuinely just loved to praise and didn't concern themselves with the details. I am not even sure they thought about what they might sound like. They just enjoyed.

Learning Thankfulness

So as I sang the songs tonight that my grandparents loved, I thought of their example. They chose to experience the joy in song. They sought after it, and loved experiencing it even when life threw them difficulties. Believe me, they lived through tough stuff just like everyone else. One can't live in this world and be immune to Satan's attacks. But when push came to shove, my grandparents still chose joy, still chose to praise even when their souls hurt.

When I think about it, they probably knew the reality. Goodness and joy exist even we don't embrace it. It hovers, enjoying the constant victory over evil and darkness, waiting to bless those who are willing to accept it. God has already created it and placed it permanently within reach of His people. Why not embrace the joy God wants us to have? Why not try to put aside our hurts, even if for a minute during a song, and focus on the good?

So after coming home from a service I attend belligerently, I experience a little joy- joy from the wonderful memory of my grandparents, and joy from what they taught me. Even when life seems to be only fatigue and worry, one can choose to experience the goodness that exists whether we seek it or not.

Why not soak it in?

And in my case, why not use my great memory to strive towards being a wise adult?

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