A two-part story about gratitude

It is a beautiful early spring day in 1992. Lew is six months old and we have had his diagnosis for about a month. I am driving down a residential street in Lexington where the lawns are new-growth green and the dogwoods are budding in the warm sun. This is before the days when parents were told to put the infant seat in the back so Lew and his seat are in the passenger seat next to me.

I glance over at Lew and see a scene framed by his face and the window beyond. I catch a brief glimpse of a family out on the lawn of their stone ranch style home. The father is holding his son’s arms to keep the child steady on his feet. The mother is a few feet away crouched down with her arms spread toward her family. It is obvious that the child is just learning to walk. He is about to take his first steps outside.

I see all of this in just a moment as the car continues on down the road. This thought jumps into my mind, “I hope they’re grateful enough.”

“I hope they’re grateful enough.” It isn’t bitterness at this anonymous family whose child is developing on schedule but there is something there that won’t let me go. It’s almost like I can hear the voice of God saying, “Keep thinking about this. There is something else I want to teach you. Don’t let this thought go just yet.”

During the rest of the afternoon and while fixing supper and during the meal, the words keep echoing in my mind. After supper, Bob takes Lew into the family room. There is a window over the kitchen sink that opens into the family room addition. I can see and hear the television in there.  At first I’m not listening but suddenly there is a story that grabs me. There is news video of a group of crying women huddled in front of a building that was bombed that day in Lebanon. The building was a children’s hospital and these women have children inside. Some wail while others stand in stunned silence waiting for news of their children.

Almost as clearly as if spoken out loud, I receive the rest of what God has been trying to tell me. I hear within myself these words,

“And how about you, Cherry, are you grateful enough?”

Image of Cherry Winkle Moore
Cherry Winkle Moore

Cherry Winkle Moore is a visual artist and a retired hospice chaplain. Cherry has a Master of Fine Arts degree in painting, drawing and printmaking from the University of Alabama. Later she completed a Master of Divinity degree with an emphasis in pastoral care. Cherry sometimes says that in her case the MFA stands for Minister of Fine Arts and the MDiv stands for Making Divine Images Visible.

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