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The robber was next to me in choir. Church choir, no less.
I had just come back from the funeral – of my 28-yr-old friend. I was still in a grief fog, when I realized it was Wednesday night, which meant choir rehearsal. Though I didn’t feel like singing, I knew there were SO many nights of practice when I rehearsed to minister to people, but truly was the receiver of the ministering. This night, I needed it.
I went and quietly took my seat; nobody would have known the pain of my week, since I was relatively new to the area. We started practice with a song about heaven:
No more night, no more pain
No more tears, never crying again
And praises to the great, “I am”
We will live in the light of the risen Lamb
My tears welled as my grief overflowed my eyes and spilled into praise. My friend was already there! No more night, no more pain!
The salve to my soul washed over me, and I got lost in the thought of the “coincidence” (=”God-incidence”) that we would be singing that song that night. I could feel the healing while I was surrounded by music, as if a choir of angels was lifting me out of the depths of sorrow and into a sea of joy!
…until the woman next to me put flies in my ointment.
“I hate this song,” she said simply.
I don’t know if she hated the lyrics.
Or the tune.
Or maybe the style – maybe she was wanting the more upbeat song at that moment.
Or maybe she had had a really bad day.
I don’t know, but I do know: she stole my moment.
Our attitude is more than just the lens through which we see our own lives; it’s more than the “difference maker” in our future business endeavors; it is the weapon the robber uses to steal and destroy those around us.
It’s not that it is so difficult to have a good attitude, it’s just that it is so easy not to. Like an “unattended car” picking up speed downhill, attitudes can tend that direction. I can be ready to tell the world about Jesus one minute and then ten minutes later, complain about how the grocery item I thought was on sale is not. After hearing my complaints, those listeners probably would not be saying, “Tell me about your Jesus.” Or “Tell me about…” anything.
Some of my mom’s best advice when I would be fighting with my younger brother could be applied to all leaders: “If you can’t say anything nice, then don’t say anything at all.” I suppose that applies to grocery sales and church songs as much as my brother.
Before I close this letter, my 14-yr-old daughter just suggested that this story should have more of what should be done instead of only what shouldn’t. It reminds me of great parenting advice, “Don’t say ‘don’t,’ say ‘do’!” Okay, then:
To have a good attitude, do:
- Be grateful. (As the saying goes, “What if you woke today with only what you said ‘thank you’ for yesterday?”)
- Ask yourself “Will this ‘problem’ matter five years from now?”
- Replace the negative with positive actions or words – and shine them on those around you.
And don’t be a robber.
Phil 4:4: Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!