Author: Ramos, Jean

An Attitude of Gratitude

I’m writing this on the evening of my birthday. I’ve been using my share of the earth’s natural resources for 68 years. I turn on the faucet and there’s water, flip a light switch and I have light, set the thermostat and I have heat, open the fridge and there’s food, turn the key in the ignition and I have transportation, you get the idea. Oh I forgot…push the button on the microwave...What?? Nothing happens? That was the night before Thanksgiving. I was in the midst of making preparations for dinner the next day. I had guests coming, very special people. I could have gotten upset and frustrated but I chose to laugh about it and told myself that if this is my biggest problem at the moment, I am truly blessed and have much to be thankful for. I have decided that this should be my attitude not only through the holidays but as a way of life.

Every Tuesday morning I meet with a group of friends for prayer. We have an extensive prayer request list; the needs are many and varied. There are folks who are out of work, people losing homes, friends and family who are fighting devastating illness; prayers are offered for prodigal sons and daughters. We pray for folks in leadership positions; in the homes, in our communities, and in all levels of government. When I pray for a young mom with cancer, or a policeman’s family when they get the call that he has been shot to death, it’s really hard to complain about a microwave that doesn’t work. By focusing on the needs of others, I have come to have an appreciation for my many blessings and it surely puts things in their proper perspective.

This Thanksgiving, our youngest daughter and her family came up from Hanford for a visit. What a pleasant time we had! Terry took our son-in-law and grandson to a rifle range and they did the guy thing. My daughter got some much-needed rest while my grand daughter Samantha (age 16) and I did some baking, shopping and arts and crafts together. Last night she polished my nails while she introduced me to “Honey Boo Boo” on You Tube. The rest of the time we did our best “red neck” impressions. We laughed until our stomachs hurt! I am so thankful for my family.

Our oldest daughter and her family lives in NY. Through the miracle of the internet and Facetime (Skype), we were able to visit. We just left the connection open for several hours so that we could interact with them and our youngest Granddaughter, Alexandra. I’m thankful for modern technology.

You are wondering by now, how I’m going to bring some bluegrass or musical content into this column, well never fear. This part involves Alexandra, better known as Ali. She is a 10 year old girl who spent the first year of her life in a Russian orphanage. We began praying for her long before she became part of our family. When our daughter Teresa and her husband Don made a trip to the Moscow area and met Ali for the first time, it was a heart wrenching time for them to have to leave her there a while longer before their court date and formal adoption proceedings. There were many complications that arose in the process and it kept us on our knees. There was a little church on the Hoopa Indian Reservation that was praying for her as well; a church that my oldest sister attended. They had a bulletin board in the church foyer that was dedicated to this little girl and her successful adoption.

There was a joyous celebration the first time our immediate family got to meet Ali; we waited at the airport with welcome signs and gifts, laughter and tears. Ali and her new mom and dad spent the first month as a family here in our home. We got to celebrate her first birthday and first Thanksgiving together before they left and settled in their home in NY.

When they came out for a visit the following July, we took Ali up to meet the extended family and friends at that little church on the reservation. Pentecostal churches, as you may know, are known for their lively music and singing. When the music started up, Ali couldn’t contain herself, she began clapping her hands and dancing in the wooden pew and enjoying church like a natural born Pentecostal. The folks, who had prayed for her, were all rejoicing with our family, and giving thanks for this little girl.

I was asked to do a special song for the occasion. When I walked to the front of the church and strapped my guitar in place, it became quiet. I began singing a song called “Suffer the Little Ones,” the lyrics start like this: “They brought Him some children to lay His hands on, some people said, ‘they’re too little and young,’ but Jesus the Master wouldn’t turn them away, He said, ‘You must be like them to enter the Way.”

As I strummed my guitar and sang softly, Ali climbed down out of the pew and began walking toward me, she stood just in front of me and stared into my eyes, seemingly mesmerized by the music. With tears in my eyes, I began the chorus:

“Suffer the Little Ones to come unto me, let the Little Ones come unto me, to save your own life you must count it all loss, and you must be like children to come to the cross.”

When I finished the chorus, Ali reached up and placed her tiny hand on the front of my guitar. As she felt the vibration, she swayed in time with the music and a big smile lit up her face. Through some kind of miracle, I was able to finish the song.

I have sung many songs since then, enjoyed the applause and praise of many people but I never have (and probably never will) experience the same emotions that I felt when I sang my song for one very precious little girl named Alexandra.

I hope you all have had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I am blessed and I am grateful.

Posted:  11/25/2012

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