Sometimes, when I think there’s no hope for humanity, someone does something that gives me pause, reason to think and appreciate.
Golden Corral Restaurant, Columbus, Ohio 2001
I’ll never forget that night. It was the evening after one of my oldest son’s football games. The family decided we should go out for dinner. With all four of my boys being under 12, “Kids Eat Free” and “Half Off” were among our favorite phrases.
We pulled into the Golden Corral parking lot, all singing the songs from my gameday CD, which I made specifically for the members of the Eastland Viking football team. My boys loved the music and for a change, so did I (even though I had to edit much of the rap included).
As I put the car in park, I noticed what sounded like singing, correction, screaming. Not in terror, rather shouting at the top of one’s lungs. I turned off the engine which simultaneously killed the music, revealing what sounded like “Haaaate Youuuu! HAAAATE YOOOUUUUU!!!”
Everyone in my family looked at each other in confusion.
I opened the minivan door and looked in the direction of the sounds, finding two adults and two children, on their knees with their hands in the air. Normally, you’d expect to see someone in front of them with a gun trained on the ensemble, but there was no one. That’s when the sounds became clear. The family was looking upwards, hands extended…
Screaming “Thank Youuuuuuuu!”
Then it made sense, despite the peculiarity of the scene. This family was giving thanks to God.
It didn’t matter if it was prior to or shortly after the meal. Without concern of the watchful eyes in the vicinity, they were thanking God with all of their hearts. Father, Mother and children.
I motioned for my family to move towards the entrance. The father never once looked at me as we walked past them, never catching my smile of comprehension and admiration. His gaze continued, fixed on the heavens above. My children looked as they walked by, wanting to ask questions, but knowing not to say anything as I spirited them along and into the restaurant.
Later that night, I sat alone in my office. The explanatory discussion with my children was long over. Everyone was asleep with a thorough understanding that this family was not embarrassed, not ashamed of thanking God for whatever blessings he had bestowed upon them, if any at all.
I asked myself…
What gives a man that kind of conviction? What strengthens ones resolve? Fortifies his devotion? So much so that he will praise the god of his understanding without fear in the presence of strangers.
That is love. That is gratitude.
I don’t know about you, but I love my God. I’ve never felt so inclined as to shout at the top of my lungs in a parking lot, but I suppose it’s a possibility. I’ve shouted for entertainment. I’ve shouted to profess my love for a woman. I’ve shouted to be selected in a crowd.
I suppose shouting for God is the best reason of all.
I’m sorry, that shouldn’t be a supposition.
Shouting out my love, dropping down to my knees, in reverence and gratitude for my Father in heaven. Yeah, that’s the greatest display of my love.
Am I asking or suggesting you do it? Certainly not.
But if the mood hits you. Don’t be afraid. Don’t feel ashamed.
Luke 9:26 Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.
Rejoice and be exceedingly glad.
And have a Happy Thanksgiving. You see there is much, for which, we should all be thankful.