O sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all the earth.
Sing to the LORD, bless his name;
tell of his salvation from day to day.
Declare his glory among the nations,
his marvelous works among all the peoples.
~ Psalm 96:1 - 3
Yesterday I spent part of the afternoon with the husband of one of my hospice patients. He and I have enjoyed talking about our faith with one another, and the disciplines we attempt to remain faithful to in our daily walks with God.
The man, who will turn ninety-two this year, shared, "I try to stay as faithful as a child. I want every day to be filled with new joys." As he smiled, tears ran down his laugh lines on his face. "And I find that the older I get, sometimes there is a very old man that appears, and he struggles with this."
It has been a difficult year for he and his wife of seventy years. Last year during Hurricane Harvey, six inches of bayou water entered the home they have lived in over the past forty years. The mold and mildew that immediately began to grow made both he and his wife sick, and then they contracted the flu while staying with friends who had small children. "I would try to wash the dishes at every meal to help out."
"People from our church came and tore out our walls, and our ceilings, when they realized our roof had also leaked. It was just an overwhelming project. We could not have done this without help."
"I struggled so much at that time with so many things," as he reached for a stack of index cards, he then handed to me one of them and asked me to read it.
As I looked at the card, I read along the top, "Sing a new song unto the Lord," followed by a list of ten things he was thankful for that day.
1. My wife and I are alive, together, being cared for by friends.
2. God loves me.
3. A bird is singing outside my window.
4. I am still able to help others.
5. Our house is still standing.
6. I laughed already today.
7. It is not raining.
8. I have an amazing Savior.
9. I can still help my wife to talk about things.
10. I am glad.
"I started writing these every day because God wants me to discover new ways to sing about my life. I started writing these years ago as a soldier away from home when I was afraid. Then as a young father while trying to complete my education. Later when I retired, and now, as an old man, waiting on the Lord, I pass my morning making sure I let God know that I am still thankful."
I then saw further back in the cabinet where he pulled this small stack from, and it was filled with recipe cards of all colors, and age. "I lost most of them when we flooded. I guess it was time for them to wash away, and for me to find new cards to write on. New cards that would become my new songs."
At the end of our conversation, we took time to pray, and as we have begun doing as friends, we take time to pray for one another.
I told him that in so many ways I always seem to feel so much better after our time together. He said, "You know, I do too. Tomorrow you will be one of the lines that I will write as my way of giving thanks."
"God doesn't require much from us, but God does want us to find happiness each day, even if it means we have to write it down on a card."
I thanked him for sharing, and it has made me think this morning about what I am thankful for, and about the song I am singing unto God.
What does your song sound like?
Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2018
Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain at Essential Hospice, Webster, Texas, and is an ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.