For three weeks I’ve been standing in the hallway as our church members enter the building for Sunday service. My job is simple: drop a squirt of hand sanitizer into outstretched hands. I have seen hands hardened by callouses and hands spotted with age. I’ve seen tiny fingers on soft baby hands, and I’ve seen scars, wrinkles, freckles, and the various shades of skin that God has made. Every open hand that is offered up to me belongs to someone who sees a new protocol like a dollop of hand sanitizer as a minuscule price to pay for the chance to sit in this building, to look into the faces of our family eternal, to worship together.
I stood and watched one of my favorite older men stroll up the hallway. He had a huge grin on his face. He looked as if he were about to tuck his worn Bible under one arm and skip up the cinder block foyer. I returned his grin as he held out his giant hands for sanitizer. “How are you, Gerald?” I asked him. His eyes danced behind his bifocals as he answered me: “Every morning when I wake up I am just so thankful that God has given me another day.” Then he rubbed his hands together, picked up his timeworn Bible, and continued his jaunt into the sanctuary.
But I was rooted to my spot. I thought back over my morning and wondered why I hadn’t thought of being grateful for another day of life.
I remember when my children were small. They woke every morning with anticipation. They called for me. They wanted to see my face, feel my arms around them. They awoke with a sense of wonder at what a day called today might hold. My oldest would shout, “Mama! It’s sunnerday!” as soon as she could see the first slivers of sunlight filtering through her blinds. Children see the potential in everyday. They are the masters and mistresses of looking forward to things that seem insignificant to grown ups. Sometimes they don’t even know what they’re excited about. They’re just basically thrilled to be alive.
Gerald is getting up in years. A former football coach, he moves a little slower than he did when his own children were waking up every morning with an excitement about life. Yet, Gerald had only one thought this past Sunday morning: It sure is a good day to be alive. Thank you, Jesus.
Maybe it’s true that as you grow older you find a little bit of that child-like faith buried deep in your bones. Maybe you start to remember that every good gift comes from God: the morning sun, the breath in your lungs, the very words of God tucked under one arm, an imperfect church to go to, a squirt of hand sanitizer from your preacher’s wife. In the end it all adds up to His goodness.