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Jerry Kahrs' Blog

As I held the cherished old photograph of Mom and Dad on their wedding day in 1947, all I could think about was how young and beautiful they were, and how precious it would be to be able to go back and be better at expressing my love and appreciation to them. The old photograph was just one from a treasure trove of family heirloom photos that my sister sent me recently, with hopes that I will someday soon spend some time scanning them and adding the images to the official “family tree.”

Over the years since my parents have been gone and as I’ve become a person my Dentist refers to as being “more seasoned,” these moments of reflection have become more frequent, moments when I’ve said to myself, “Now I get it, I can empathize, now I can see why I should have called more often, or written more letters, or just listened more carefully.” There’s a dark side to these moments, when feelings of guilt arise, but they also inevitably lead me towards a better place, a place of deeper appreciation for the simple blessings of each new day, for time spent with loving family and friends, for experiencing the wonders of nature, and for the blessings of God’s love.

In his best-selling book “The Universal Christ,” Father Richard Rohr begins his chapter on Transformation and Contemplation with the following statement:

“In the practical order of life, if we have never loved deeply or suffered deeply, we are unable to understand spiritual things at any depth. Any healthy and “true” religion is teaching you how to deal with suffering and how to deal with love. And if you allow this process with sincerity, you will soon recognize that it is actually love and suffering that are dealing with you, like nothing else can! Even God has to use love and suffering to teach you all the lessons that really matter. They are his primary tools for human transformation.”

Looking at the old photographs again, I realize that I can only really comprehend a small portion of the depths of love and of suffering my parents endured, but I’ve come to understand and appreciate their love for me more and more.

In her blog a couple of weeks ago, Lou Ann Karabel wrote beautifully and eloquently about the transformative power of great love, and great suffering. Just as with my parents, I know that many of you have suffered in so many ways, you’ve lost parents, spouses, siblings, and children, you’ve watched your loved ones deal with debilitating health issues, or perhaps dealt with them yourself.

My hope for you and for those that are dear to you is that whatever your suffering has been and may be in the future, that it will serve to deepen your love and appreciation for the blessings of this life. Towards that end, I hope you will find the following simple prayer (from as meaningful to you as it is to me:

Prayer of Appreciation

(a prayer of thanks for the blessings in life)


Let the details in life take my attention today

A warm mug of tea

The gentle grass under my feet

And the chance just to gather and eat

O Lord

Let the everyday pleasures ring out melodies in my heart

The smile of a friend

A warm comfy bed

The sunlight on the trees and walks in the park

O Lord

Let the more ordinary reveal its amazing delight

Clouds drifting by

Birds sweeping high

The sunset that transforms day into night


May these things inspire me to praise

And bring a clear moment of sight

Now I see how amazing the world truly is

And soak in Your goodness and light


Jerry Kahrs


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