On a recent weekend night, Monica and I were at a wedding reception when it suddenly hit me. The wedding had started with all of the ‘traditional’ steps, and we were in the phase after dinner where the dancing had just begun. The bride and groom danced together, and then the groom escorted his new wife over to her father. It was the “father-daughter” dance that got to me. My emotions swelled as I realized, in spite of all the weddings I have been involved in - in so many different and special ways - being a father of two sons (whom I love and treasure greatly), I will never experience the joy of dancing with my daughter at her wedding. About halfway through the song I got my emotions in check (the tears never escaped my eyes), took a sip of Champaign, and settled in to enjoy the rest of the evening.
Here I am, 65 years old, supposedly mature in my faith, blessed way beyond measure and merit, yet feeling sorry for myself. “I want it all,” I heard myself saying. Poor, poor me!
It was that same weekend that we received word that a pastor friend of ours had been killed in an automobile accident. While driving to an appointment on Wednesday morning, he was broadsided by someone running a stop sign. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Then Friday night his youngest son gave a valedictory address at his high school graduation. This coming August our friend would have performed the wedding ceremony of his oldest daughter ... and, I assume, later that evening would have participated in the “father-daughter” dance. Our friend was only 57. On Monday evening as we spoke with his widow and met their three children I thought to myself, “Poor, poor me.”
Poor me for never being satisfied. Poor me for complaining. Poor me for focusing upon the little I lack instead of the multitude of underserved blessings that come my way day after day. Poor me for being so narcissistic.
"All of us have become like something unclean, and all our righteous acts are like a polluted garment; all of us wither like a leaf, and our iniquities carry us away like the wind. ... Yet Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we all are the work of your hands." (Isaiah 64.6, 8) Yes, for some reason, God doesn’t give up on us. He continues to love us and forgive us, and work at molding us into the beautiful people he envisions us all to be ... to the point that our cup continually overflows. Instead of holding our egocentric hearts and arrogant attitudes against us, he holds us close to his heart and assures us, “Never will I leave you. Never will I forsake you." (Hebrews 13.5)
Poor, poor me? No way! "I have received everything in full, and I have an abundance. I am fully supplied ... And my God will supply all your needs according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Now to our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen." (Philippians 4.18-19) Our story-lines may be different, but the theme of our stories is all the same: Poor, poor are we when we focus upon what we have not ... and rich beyond measure we become as the spirit opens our eyes to see the grace, mercy and generosity of our God.
"For this reason, my friends, I kneel before the Father from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named. I pray that he may grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with power in your inner being through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. I pray that you, being rooted and firmly established in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of God's love, and to know Christ's love that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God." (Ephesians 3.16-19) ... to the point that none of us, ever again, finds ourselves saying, "Poor, poor me!"