SAUCIER — Where thanks fell short


It was the best Father’s Day.

For the first time in many months, we had all the kids and grandkids together. The weather was beautiful, with a gentle sun, a whispering breeze and comfortable shade.

We spread tables across the lawn for some modicum of distancing, but there were times when the familial was stronger than the social. Platters and plates were piled high with the fruits of gifted cooks.

The children scurried about, from one imaginative enterprise to another, culminating in a dance performance with the emphasis on interpretive.

To top it off, our youngest announced a coming addition to the clan. Joyous news at any time, this was special because it is their first.

So it was strange that night, reviewing the day and all the abundance of life, when thanksgiving was not enough. I was profoundly grateful, but I needed another prayer. The words that formed on my lips were unexpected.

“Disturb me, O Lord. Discomfit and afflict me. Give me a heart aching with another’s pain. Let me feel another’s hunger. Let me bleed with the wounds of injustice. Let me tremble with another’s fear and sink to my knees in another’s despair.”

I was surprised as anyone that I had given voice to those words. They were not intentional, not even necessarily welcome, but there they were.

Only slowly did I begin to understand.

Indeed, my life has been blessed. I have a family that loves me despite myself, a home that is more than adequate, the leisure of retirement, and more money than a significant portion of the world.

That’s all good, but it is so tempting to think that’s enough, so appealing to be complacent, so easy to forget that my life was given to me for others.

Jesus was a subverter, an up-ender. He did this to the institutions of His day, but also challenged individuals to turn their lives around, even upside down, to encounter the fullness of life.

The rich young man couldn’t do it, but Zacchaeus could, as could the woman at the well, the Gerasene demoniac, and most of all, Paul.

There’s a big risk of being selfishly insulated, distracted and unaware. I don’t want to give up all the good things of my life, but in the end, I don’t want to say, “Lord, I didn’t see You hungry, thirsty, suffering or in prison!”

I don’t want Him to respond, “Of course you didn’t, you never looked!”