Tom didn't have an easy life. His parents had drinking problems, and sometimes beat him and his little brother. His brother ran from the family at every chance, spending most of his time with friends and even some strangers. Tom tried to help his parents when he could, and tried to do what he was supposed to. A neighbor invited him to church at 7, and Tom learned about a God who could help him through the pain of his family. When he was 12, his dad was arrested and spent the next 6 years in prison. The family's financial condition got worse, and his mother more difficult.
But Tom's Sunday School teacher told him something that encouraged his natural optimism. She was crippled, with difficult arthritis since early adulthood. But she started every class helping the class to see how blessed they were. That resonated with Tom, who began every greeting with "Hi! Aren't we blessed?" His faith, attitude and hard work helped him in school, in the first of many after-school jobs, and with others.
When we met, he was in his 30s. He had a beautiful wife, a good job and two wonderful kids. He was blessed. He didn't count that his wife had been in a terrible fire and wasn't the beauty that God had created her to be. He didn't count one child with Down's syndrome and a work environment where he was challenged each year to do more. He counted his blessings- and he was blessed.
As we start a new year, I echo Tom's words. "Aren't we Blessed?"