By now, the story of King George III's diary entry for July 4, 1776 is well-known. Unaware that some three-thousand miles away, upstarts in North America had publicly declared thirteen colonies independent of Britain, George wrote that nothing of great importance had happened that day.
Today was a day when, given the instant access we have to world events modern media give to us, I can safely write that nothing of grand geopolitical significance happened.
But for me, it has been a splendid day, drenched in the simple blessings that can make life so rich and wonderful.
One thing making it so was the brilliant sunshine that filled the sky here much of the day. And then there were the mild temperatures and low humidity. It was, in short, a perfect spring day.
Then, there were the things that happened that made it so perfect.
This morning, I wrote my message for tomorrow's worship and afterward, spent some time in conversation with our son as he got ready for work. We laughed as he quickly popped in and out of my bed room just after I'd showered to announce: "It's Saturday and I don't want to go to work...I just needed to get that off my chest."
In the early afternoon, a friend gave me a box full of books and CDs, some of which were meant for me and the rest to be doled out as gifts to others as I see fit. It was a treasure trove of neat stuff, including Hugh Hewitt's book on blogging, which I've been wanting to read ever since it was published.
After my wife's return from work, we went to Half Price Books. There, we hit the jackpot in several ways. First off, we got a whole eight bucks for some books my wife had gathered to be sold there.
Then, we found some books to give as gifts and for next to nothing, I was able to buy Peter Robinson's amazing book, How Ronald Reagan Changed My Life, which I'm already enjoying.
Tonight, savoring the day as the sun began to sink, I took a walk and, along the way, talked with a neighbor. "Hey, I hear that your daughter is getting married," he said.
"Yep. Next month," I replied.
"Well, whoever the fellow is, he's a lucky guy. She's a sweetie!"
"Thanks. We think she's special. We really like her fiance too."
"Do you? I'm glad about that."
After my walk, I returned to the house where my future son-in-law, wife, and I watched the Reds play the Indians on TV. Even though the Indians won, evening-up the weekend set they're playing right now, it was a fun game to watch.
As you can see, there was nothing special about this day. And yet, that's precisely what made it so special. At every turn, there was good conversation with really great people unfolding under a canopy of sunshine and renewing, blossoming life. It was a day lived at the speed of spring, a rare opportunity to step off this rapidly-moving vehicle called life and just live.
My wife, knowing that I had been feeling a little sorry for myself earlier in the week, said to me today, "You really do have a wonderful life, Mark."
"Yes," I said, feeling a little like George Bailey after Clarence had worked his angelic magic. "I really do. I know that I am exactly where I'm supposed to be and that I'm doing exactly what I should be doing."
My heart aches for people who live in places like Darfur, Afghanistan, Iraq, Zimbabwe, in tough inner-city locales across our country, in those pockets of poverty that dot the landscape of rural America, and elsewhere. I feel for those dealing with tragedy, divorce, joblessness, and all the other misfortunes that befall the human race.
During my walks under this springtime sky, I pray that these victims of life's horrors will have peace.
I occasionally donate to organizations that bring relief to people in places and situations like these.
I offer a listening ear and a shoulder.
I volunteer my time to organizations that strive to make the life of the world better, gentler, more imbued with love.
I wish that all the six-billion people who inhabit this planet could enjoy days of simple pleasures like the one I have had today.
But I have two thoughts as this day comes to an end.
First: I take no credit for the wonderful day that has come to me. I don't feel that I deserve it. I have no sense of personal pride for the life that I enjoy. It is pure gift. And I know that in a world in which bad things do happen, not all my days will be like this. Indeed, one day, my life here will come to an end. But by the grace of the God I follow through Christ, I have the hope that I will live a day a bit like this that never ends. That's a hope I live to share with others every day I have on this planet.
While here, I pray and give, listen and volunteer, in hopes of sharing days like these and to give the eternal spring Christ grants to all with faith in Him to others.
Second: As a follower of Christ, as I say, I'm committed to praying and working for the justice by which all God's children might enjoy days of simple pleasure. May that day come soon. But it would be the height of ingratitude for me not to be thankful, not to relish, not to enjoy, or not to take advantage of gift days like this one. So, as long as God lets me have them, I will live them with eager thankfulness.