I don’t know Todd really well, but he (and his wife and their brood of children) are going to be missionaries in Turkey. In the short time I did know him, he taught me something very important, that I remembered tonight…
I have never seen Todd without a smile on his face. We worked together at our church in New York, where I was a part time production director for our weekend services, and Todd was our audio guy. The first time he came in on a Sunday, there was a mis-communication about times. He ended up there early, and I ended up there late.
When I arrived at the church, Todd was standing outside the front door. Since they were saving up for a missions trip, they only had one car for the whole family, so he’d been dropped off — an hour and a half before I got there. It was the dead of winter in New York, and the guy was standing there in the cold waiting for me.
With a smile on his face.
This guy was a professional audio engineer, well into his career, who’d given it up to get ready to go the missions field. And because of where God had called him to go, he had to make some money working for us. We were a bunch of 20-somethings pulling together an intensely fast-paced ministry by our shoestrings, some bubble gum (literally, on at least one occasion) and the seat of our pants. And we probably didn’t give him half the respect he deserved.
But I never once saw him without that smile on his face.
One time, stressed out about something or other that had probably gone wrong, or was about to go wrong, or might go wrong if the solution we’d patched together at midnight the night before fell apart, I asked him how he could always be happy. And he told me:
You get to choose your attitude.
And he was right. Right now, things aren’t terribly fantastic in our lives. For everything good we want to do, or give, or accomplish, something comes along and craps on it, or somehow screws us out of more time or money or resources than the little bit we could manage to share. And it looks to be continuing that way for at least another two months. But I was reminded tonight that I’m actually pretty spoiled. And that my idea of a rough week, or a rough month, or a rough summer… well, it would probably seem pretty good to a lot of other people in the world.
So I’m trying to choose a better attitude.