To the Editor:
Thanksgiving is a time for gratitude. All of us can get calloused about our lives. I take an awful lot for granted. It takes something tragic to realize the goodness and bounty we have. In the aftermath of the Nov. 17 tornado, working with the mayor of Diamond, the churches and the nonprofits in Grundy County, I have seen our county at its best.
I want to share three stories. First, a woman drove up to the First Methodist Church in Coal City, took a couple of blankets out of her car and gave them to a volunteer. Surrounded by dozens of volunteers bringing truckloads of supplies, many writing checks, she looked uncomfortable. She said to a volunteer she hoped that “in a little way these would help.” At that moment, you could only think of Jesus telling the story of the widow’s mite. Gratitude!
A man whose home was damaged and in the midst of a great deal of broken homes and disrupted lives drove Monday morning to his job as a custodian in a Joliet elementary school. Many children in a third-grade class wanted to know what it was like being in a tornado, and how his family and neighbors were. It was a tough day telling the story and then driving home to face the damage again. Tuesday morning he returned to work to find the third-grade classroom filled with supplies for his family and neighbors. Not the idea of the teacher or the school, but of the 9-year-old children. Gratitude!
While taking applications for mini-grants to be given out, a man got halfway through the application, stopped, and said, “I don’t need this. We have others in my block that have a greater need.” This was not an isolated experience. This same thing was reported by first responders and others who wanted to help those who had suffered damage or injury. Many said help those with bigger needs first. Gratitude!
Years ago during a Lenten sermon, I heard our minister say, “Gratitude ... it can immunize you against the bad things in life” ... like a shot to protect you form the flu. Gratitude can simply change your view of a life that is often fillled with pain, disappointments and uncertainty.
Gratitude ... I saw God’s fingerprints all over Grundy County last week on both the givers and the receivers.