By Senator Lena C. Taylor
There is an old gospel song by the iconic Walter Hawkins entitled “Be Grateful”. I remember hearing that song hummed over the years and being pulled in to the lyrics:
God has not promised me sunshine
That’s not the way it’s supposed to be
But a little rain mixed with God’s sunshine
A little pain, makes me appreciate the good times
Be grateful, be grateful….
In the midst of social discontent and record-breaking acts of violence, it can be hard to find reasons to be grateful. We know that there are families, whether in Colorado Springs, Chesapeake, or Milwaukee, that are reeling from fatal tragedies. The climate has intensified around issues of race, sexual expression, and faith. Mundane activities like grocery shopping, attending school or a movie, or going to work have been targeted for political statements and hate-filled actions. All of this kind of makes it hard to be grateful.
Yet, the lyrics in the hymn acknowledge that life will bring challenges and our faith will be tested. It references the periods of rain and pain that can befall our lives. The tune begs us to appreciate the good days and reminds me of a song by Rev. Paul Jones, “I Won’t Complain”.
Sometimes the clouds
I can hardly see the road
I ask a question, Lord
Lord, why so much pain?
But he knows what’s best for me
Although my weary eyes
They can’t see
So I’ll just say thank you Lord
I won’t complain
When I’ve had nowhere else to go, couldn’t understand what was happening around me, I’ve had to rely on my faith to get me through. Faith is confidence in our hopes for our family, future and nation. Even when we can’t see the answer or way out, my faith requires I remain optimistic. And it was my parents and grandparents that taught me, that in spite of everything, to always find reasons to be grateful. Each day is an opportunity to be thankful for something: family, friends, health, housing, food, or love. I am thankful for this community and the folks that allow me to work on their behalf. This holiday season, I encourage you to find what you are grateful for and hold on to it.