Spirit Alive: It Was the Best Day Ever


Spirit Alive is a twice a month blog that looks at different aspects of mission and ministry throughout the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference and beyond.

December 18, 2018

Food for the Soul:

Life Can Be So Good!

"And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good."

Genesis 1:31

"The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together, and a little child will lead them."

Isaiah 11: 6

Let me tell you a story about an experience I had during an UMC Volunteer in Mission trip I lead to UMCOR Sager Brown in Louisiana a few years ago. After working at the depot for several days, our group took an afternoon off to visit the nearby Tabasco factory located nearby at Avery Island. This is quite a place, because it is the location that produces nearly all the Tabasco sauce marketed in the United States.

 As it turned out, just as our group arrived at the factory, along came a bus filled with elementary school children...I think third graders...who were also about to enter the facility. Even though we wanted to get there first, so we could have our own tour, as it turned out we ended up being on the same tour.

Well...this ended up being a real blessing...and it taught me a very valuable lesson in the end. You see, at the close of the tour, our guide asked the entire group, "Does anyone have any questions?" Suddenly, a very enthusiastic third grade boy raised his hand. And when the tour guide called on him to see what he wanted to ask, the boy responded with these words: "This is the best day ever!"

Wow...that was a powerful pronouncement and was completely unexpected...and it is something I've remembered ever since. This is the best day ever! Who knew?

But what a great insight into life. I don't mean this in some Pollyanna manner...or in terms of the old adage "Every day, in every way, things get better and better." We all know life doesn't work that way...and that it isn't always easy nor is life just or without suffering. It doesn't take much experience to realize this about life! We all carry our wounds, griefs and burdens.

But for me the insight that this little boy shared is this: When life is received as a fresh adventure, as children can often experience things...and when I am open to new insights, perspectives, and am willing to see life as a gift...and when I am able to learn, then the world can truly be an amazing place in which to live. And yes, suddenly the day you are experiencing can become the best day ever!

Some time ago, I read the book Life is So Good by George Dawson and Richard Glaubman. It is a

remarkable testimony of what a person can do with their life when they see the beauty, power, and giftedness that is a part of it. In this story,  we learn from George Dawson, a 103-year-old slave's grandson, who learned to read at age 98, that life can be amazing as he perseveres the segregation and bigotry that surround him.

It is a story about character, soul, and spirit. As Dawson says: "Things will be all right. People need to hear that. Life is good, just as it is. There isn't anything I would change about my life." Dawson goes on to say: "It's good to be generous. It doesn't take much to make a difference. Even the poorest man can just take the time to say hello; that can be a help. Have some sympathy for someone's hard-luck story. It's not about money. Give what you can. And if you have nothing, at least pray for somebody. Have good thoughts."

This is sound advice for our times, especially when so many have lost a sense of compassion and empathy for their neighbors. But as George Dawson reminds us...we can all make a difference in the world, even those of us who seem to have nothing to contribute.

Christmas is soon approaching, and we will welcome and celebrate the birth of Jesus in our midst. It would be easy to dismiss this long ago, isolated event, which took place on the margins of society, as something insignificant and unimportant. And yet, we remember this day...what we've come to call Christmas...as a blessing in our lives and as sign of God's love. It is a reminder of the promise from Isaiah that proclaims that a child will lead us. And...that on a day such as this, one could say "it is the best day ever" once again!

Let us walk in the light of God's love,


Spirit Alive is a twice a month blog and email by Rev. Lowell Greathouse, Mission and Ministry Coordinator for the Oregon-Idaho Conference. It seeks to identify where the spirit is alive in our congregations and communities. Check out past editions, or subscribe to the email list.