I recently read a book about an astronaut who was stranded on Mars. In between working out creative ways to survive until the next mission would arrive and calculating how long he had before he might starve, with nothing but time on his hands, he entered his thoughts in a journal. Ever hopeful, ever positive, he was grateful for each opportunity he had that could keep him alive for another “sol” (astronaut speak for a “day” on Mars”).
As I read this story, I began to think about a fundamental question: As Christians, isn’t everything we do somehow related to being grateful. We work daily at activities that are born of gratitude whether we consciously acknowledge it or not. Some of us are professionals that are grateful for an education that enables us to give our life’s passion meaning. We are committed. Some of us are trained in skills that produce such a sense of accomplishment that we are grateful for having had the opportunity to make something better. Our personal lives are fulfilled in the everyday tasks of just creatively managing each and every hurdle life brings.
We are approaching the season of giving in our church. Some will give because it feels right to do so. Others because it is just what you do. My decision to give is because I am grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the work Ascension does in this community, for the outreach of love and faith our church nurtures, for Mother Mary and the depth of her goodness, and for the many opportunities to give back through the efforts of so many working together.
I am not alone on Mars. I don’t contemplate how I’m going to stay alive until I’m rescued. Sometimes I do write in a journal, but always, always I am grateful for each and every “sol” that comes to me abundant with the glory of God’s love. Giving is part of being grateful because after all, we really don’t have much time.
Credit: Annette and her husband Charles are members of the Episcopal Church of Ascension, Cartersville, GA