Gratitude in the Small Things
Updated: May 6
"The light that fills us when we gather together is difficult to describe, as it is a feeling, a warmth that happens."
Several years ago, Mike and I purchased a home in Havertown and began our search for a church community. One Sunday, my Mom asked to join us and we landed at a service on the lawn of United Methodist Church on Brookline Boulevard which was a combined service with Temple Lutheran. As we walked toward the back row with the service underway, someone quickly brought a chair for my Mom; their kindness showed in her face as she as she relaxed and took her seat.
I was struck by Pastor Tim’s sermon as he pulled a receipt out of his shirt pocket and focused on gratitude, sharing about a recent visit to the local Acme. He reflected on our tendency to complain about long lines, parking, and poor service; or not finding something we needed on the shelf. When he arrived home to unpack his groceries, he thought about all that goes into the items he took out of his bags, the people who grow and harvest the vegetables, those involved with transporting products across the country, the person who stays late to make sure there is enough on the shelf. The list goes on. There are so many behind the scenes who allow us to make a meal for our friends and family. And that is what he reminded us when he held up the receipt. To say, “Thank you” to the person checking us out or bagging our groceries. Because without the people working to make it happen, we would not have the opportunity to break bread together. Mike and I have found so much joy in having people at our table; Mike in the kitchen over a stove, people peering into his pot of soup or asking about what else is cooking. Sharing stories and ideas and laughter around the table, neighbors and loved ones and new friends. Some are no longer with us. The gatherings over time are the glue of any community.
The service came to an end and we decided to partake in the BBQ. The stairs were a bit of a challenge for my Mom; however, she was determined to enjoy burgers, and hot dogs, and potato salad in the church basement. People joined us and we felt welcome. My Mom’s youthful smile was bright, and she shared about growing up in a church as her Dad was a minister, and she always loved the gatherings in the hall. She loved the communion with others. The breaking of the bread.
The light that fills us when we gather together is difficult to describe, as it is a feeling, a warmth that happens. Mike and I were so grateful to have found such a welcoming community. He commented on the way home that was so thoughtful that someone brought bread and grape juice to my Mom in the back row. It made all the difference.