One of the last things my father said as he was dying has become significant in my attitude toward life.  Daddy was hemorrhaging internally and we knew that we were facing his last hours.  However, he was aware and even seemed strong as death inched slowly into his body.  Mom and Dad had moved into the home of my brother and sister-in-law.  She was the nurse of my Dad’s doctor.  It was an ideal arrangement for Daddy and our family.  His hospital bed and medical supplies had taken over the living room of their house.

We surrounded our father with concern and love.  Daddy loved Christian TV and my brother had moved at television into his room.  The TV was on acting more as a night-light than entertainment.  However, in the lulls of whispered conversation, we could detect the message the various teachers were proclaiming.  As my brother was transferring Dad from a chair back to the bed, we could hear the words of one particularly loud preacher.  He was preaching about how awful the world is and how much we as a Christian must avoid everything and everyone connected to the outside world. 

Daddy leaned back on his pillow and closed his eyes in exhaustion.  Then he said, “Sure there are a lot of bad things in this world; but if you look, you’ll find that there is a lot more good than you ever thought possible.”   

Paul said it this way as he wrote in a letter to the young preacher, Titus, “Everything is clean to a clean mind.”   

Lucy is a delightful example of a clean mind.  She is much lower functioning than most of the members of Special Gathering.  Her smile is contagious and dominates her face.  Unable to keep her balance her walking is aided by two Canadian crutches.  She moves slowly but deliberately.  If she loves you, she demands a hug. 

Of course, Lucy has her bad days.  In fact, after the death of her much-loved father, she has grieved, expressing herself with unacceptable behaviors.  But these are still uncommon events and her overall attitude remains serene and secure.

Before her father died, there had been little that upset this young woman.  Because grief is a natural outgrowth of life and I’ve not been the target of her unexpected aggression, I’ve not seen her behaviors as anything but a healthy response to a tragic event that she isn’t able to cognitively comprehend. 

Chrissy is also physically disabled.  However, her mind is sharp as a tack.  She was treated badly by her family as a young child but that hasn’t kept her from having a clean mind and seeing the world as a joyful habitat for joyous events to happen.  She laughs and giggles at the most common things.  She smiles at sounds and smells that I barely notice. 

The more I interact with people like Chrissy and Lucy, the more I’m convinced that Paul was correct.  As hard as it is to zero our concentration of the clean and good things of this world, the more we will reap the benefits of that environment.