You are loved; give thanks
By H. Murray Hohns
By H. Murray Hohns
We sing a chorus at church that proclaims "Give thanks with a grateful heart." It has a catchy tune, and though I generally sing along without much thought, I recently found myself thinking about its words.
My wife, Jean, and I met and married 25 years ago, when we were in our early 50s. We went to a memorial service recently; my wife knew many of the attendees as we came together to remember her longtime friend. Jean met Sherri almost 40 years ago when Sherri and her family began to attend the Oakland (Calif.) First Church of the Nazarene.
Sherri was then 14, and her parents became the youth pastors of the church. My wife's children were almost Sherri's age, and thus a lifelong friendship was begun. Sherri soon met a fellow, Russ, at church. They married while attending college. Russ and Sherri were called into the ministry, and started out as youth pastors at a Nazarene church in Idaho. Later they became pastors of a Nazarene church in Kane'ohe, from 1987 to 1996. We visited them from time to time during those years.
Sherri was 53 when she died. She'd had a routine outpatient procedure but was given a drug to prevent infection. A drug reaction killed her in less than 30 minutes.
I sat behind her husband and watched and listened as she was remembered. I thought of all the joy and value that my wife and I have brought to each other for the past 25 years — years which Sherri and Russ would not share. I felt his loss. Their children, now all married and with families of their own, remembered their mom. They gave thanks with grateful hearts for their mom. Russ got up and spoke of his grief as he transitioned from being part of "Sherri and Russ" to being just "Russ."
I hurt as I listened and felt a small portion of the loss that Sherri's family, friends and those to whom they ministered and loved all had experienced.
This Thanksgiving, the time of the year when we are urged to give thanks for our blessings, for those who love us and those we love, I am reminded by Sherri's memorial that we are desperately important to each other.
Why not make this year the beginning of your life with a grateful heart? Someone hopes for you, cares for you and worries about you. Isn't that wonderful? Give thanks with a grateful heart.
H. Murray Hohns, of Makiki, is an associate pastor at New Hope Christian Fellowship.