Gratefuls from Seat 19D.

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I am grateful, Sam, I am.

I am grateful way up high.
I am grateful as I fly.

I am grateful in this seat.
I am grateful at 33,000 feet.

I am grateful in a cloud.
I am grateful when it’s loud.

I am grateful for the snow.
I am grateful for beauty below.

I am grateful sun or rain.
I am grateful in this plane.

*****

I am grateful for good weather to fly.

I am grateful for the kindness shown to me by so many today.

I am grateful for a ride to the airport from Karen.

I am grateful for a window to my right, and an empty seat to my left.

I am grateful that I do not need to use the bathroom on the plane. Yet.

I am grateful that I can use the iPad to write my gratefuls.

I am grateful for a new book to read, The Princes of Albion, by Jon Hopkins, given to me by Elaine.

I am grateful for Philip Gulley sermons that Dad let me borrow to read and absorb.

I am grateful for a big suitcase. With wheels.

I am grateful that my suitcase didn’t weigh over 50 pounds. Close, but no penalty.

I am grateful for gum to help with sensitive ears.

I am grateful that tonight I see my sweet baby girl again after two long years.

I am grateful that half of my suitcase is full of dress up clothes from City Union Mission thrift store for two little granddaughters.

I am grateful for this morning’s devotion that brought back memories…

*****
Matthew 18:10

One of the most famous paintings in Christian history is Heilger Schutzengel, which means “Guardian Angel.” It’s the scene of two children – a girl and her small brother – crossing a rickety bridge over a roaring stream. A beautiful angel hovers above them, arms outstretched, wings expanding, silently watching the youngsters complete the perilous crossing. The origin of the painting is unknown. A company called Lindberg in Switzerland produced the first copies many years ago. We can only assume the artist was thinking of Matthew 18:10.

The Bible gives few verses on the subject of whether or not everyone has a specific guardian angel, but there’s no question we have angels watching over us all the time. Whether we have one specific angel guarding us is uncertain, but what is clearly indicated in the Bible is that God has His angels watching over us constantly. Don’t worry about whether you have one angel or many. In either case, the angelic host serves as the security detail for believers. They are our heavenly helpers whenever we’re on a bridge over troubled waters.

*****

Aunt Drula and Uncle Fred gave us a gift when one of the girls was born. I don’t remember now which daughter… It was an old picture of two children crossing a bridge with an angel watching from above, a fairly known picture that I had seen many times. It wasn’t anything I would have chosen to decorate a room, but because it was from Aunt Drula and Uncle Fred, two of my favorites, I hung it in the girls’ bedroom for years.

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“I believe there are – angels among us,
Sent down to us, from somewhere up above,
They come to you and me, in our darkest hour,
To show us how to live, to teach us how to give,
To guide us with a light of Love.”

This was the chorus to a song my choirs sang one year at a Christmas program, when our theme had something to do with angels, I suppose. We asked the audience to donate teddy bears to the local police department to keep in the trunks of their cars to give away to children facing trauma. And another year, at another school, we collected coats and hats. During the song, the audience passed their gifts to the front of the stage as my kids sang. I was always a sucker for sweet emotional endings with a message.

My sister’s name is Angela, and she was so named because Mom needed a little girl so badly after Judy died, and God answered her prayer.

My granddaughter-to-be, chosen by God to bless my oldest daughter and her family in a few more weeks, will be named Aynjel, a name that will inspire and lead others. Perhaps she will be a teacher or a counselor or a nurse or doctor. Perhaps she will watch over and protect those in need…

*****
So, as I read my devotion this morning from Dad’s David Jeremiah book, I thought about that picture. I thought about my sister who is headed to Texas to be an angel this next week to women and children who have no hope. I thought about little Aynjel. I thought about past Christmas programs. I thought about the scripture of “entertaining angels unaware.”

I thought about the bridges over troubled water in my life that I have had to cross, that I must cross. I know that He holds me in the palm of His hand. I know that He goes before me, He walks beside me, and sometimes He carries me when I just don’t have it in me to take another step. I know that His angels will keep charge over me…

And for that and so much more, I am grateful.

*****
Smooth flight. The pilot announced we were flying over Wyoming a short while ago, so I know it won’t be much longer. The flight attendants are offering last refills, one last pass before clean-up time.

I am grateful for three hours to reflect, to read, to sit in silence and reminisce.

I am grateful for an abundance of friends with whom I’ve reconnected in the last week. Elaine, Cindy and Keith, John and Linda, Donna, Shirley and Lacey. Friends make my life so rich and full…

I am grateful for the support of my husband who praises my independence and continues to encourage me to grow and fully live.

I am grateful for the song, “Bridge Over Troubled Water” that is playing on my internal jukebox right now.

I am grateful for a hug from Dad today and grateful that he and Natia will “hold down the fort.”

I am grateful for a dinosaur phone that at least holds pictures so that I can scroll through and enjoy three years of grandchildren while I become more and more anxious to begin the weekend.

I am grateful for Joyce, and Karen, and Moira, and Mary, who understand the importance of this trip and wished me well just before I left.

I am grateful for shuttle rides and rental cars.

I am grateful for memories of Mom hugging my girls when she saw them. “Grandma, you’re squeezing my guts out!” I get it now. I will TRY not to squeeze their guts out…

I am grateful for instrument flying or whatever you call it, because those pilots cannot see a thing in the middle of this rain cloud as we begin a slow descent.

I am grateful that my seat is in row 19 rather than row 20, because if it had been row 20, I would have spent three hours listening to the woman behind me talking about every. single. presidential. candidate. detail. I’m fairly certain she has expounded on every, and I mean, EVERY. thing.

And I am grateful that we’re almost there, because I have to use the bathroom now.

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