That has been a tough one in the Sasser house today. We had a great morning celebrating Earth Day at the Lafayette Middle School. My daughter climbed a 30' inflatable rock wall, made a candle out of bee's wax, and got to touch a preserved shark. What will she report? "We didn't get to go canoeing!"
As for me, I had some great time with my family today. I had an opportunity to sit and visit with church elders who are passionate about their church. I was able to visit with another member in the hospital and hear stories of her remarkable life. Then I came home to find that my bike and my wife's bike were stolen.
Both were nice bikes. Mine happened to have belonged to my locker partner from high school, who used it in his twenties to compete in triathlons before retiring it to my care for much less than its actual value. I feel violated, angry, and concerned for the safety of my other worldly possessions. I even feel a little guilty for letting my friend's old bike disappear. Treva's bike was also second hand, but in good repair. A friend fixed it up for us only weeks ago. I had just bought her a new bike helmet for her birthday. I'm not sure when or if they can be replaced. We are not the kind of folks who can just go buy new bikes when we want to.
As the children began to project the feelings I expressed by talking about the bad people who stole our bikes, we realized that anger cannot have the final word. So we talked about how sad it must be to need to steal bikes from a family. We talked about the need to pray for the thief, and how this is one of the ways that our faith helps us to see the needs of others. We talked about how it is easy to be faithful when things are good, but it is even more important to be faithful when they are not.
All of this led me to consider the many blessings in my life and to value them in ways that I never would have before. I'm still angry and sad. I will continue to regret this loss, even when I eventually get a new bike. Yet there is a part of me that is truly thankful. As I prepare for the palms, the passion, the memorial feast, and the empty tomb I have a profound sense of gratitude for God's providence I would not have without this theft.
So, here is a quick list of the things I am thankful for from today:
- A wife who is my partner, friend, and colaborator against darkness
- Conversations with elders who have a deep and abiding faith
- Time with my children in celebration of God's creation
- Watching my daughter climb a rock wall
- Watching my son frollic in reckless abandon
- Having a nice home
- Receiving 6lbs of boiled crawfish from a friend
- Being "friended" on facebook by someone else that I have not seen in 30 years
- The privilege of visiting a venerated church member in the hospital
- Knowing that I am part of a family of faith that is my church
- Having friends and loved ones express care and concern
- The Tagalong fairy brought me some cookies.
- There is ice cream in the fridge.
- The endless hugs and kisses of my children, and their deep, caring eyes
- Someone stole my bike and forced me to think about all that is good in my life.
- Knowing that all of the above and all that I have yet to express is because of God's providence, God's grace, and God's mercy; and that God's brilliance is so wonderful that it shines even through thieves and madmen like me.
As is said in many a funeral, even at the grave we make our song: Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!
So, wave the palms! Shout Hosanna! The King of Glory comes to forgive bike thieves, Pharisees, and even those who shout for us to crucify him. May the mystery and majesty of God's grace continue to be revealed in all our lives, come what may.