Today is my "first date" anniversary.
While I personally find it strange that someone as amazing as my wife would agree to marry me or would even remotely find me attractive, this would hardly make for appropriate blogging material, except for this fact -
Were it not for the countless and unnamed people who, through their charitable efforts, kept the church going for the past 40 years, I would not now be married.
Unnamed - isn't that interesting? There are innumerable people who paid the rent, somehow kept the electricity turned on, bought buildings and kept the St. Louis church going long enough for me (and my wife) to find it.
Behind all of us, there is a long line of anonymous donors, urging us into the future. They donated money and sweat so that we could now take up the banner and carry the church forward.
Having decided that he or she would help "the future generation," someone paid a Scientology fundraiser 20 years ago. They didn't even know that they were helping me, specifically; and further, they didn't know me.
This concept is at the very center of the definition of the word, "charity." Perhaps Jesus said it best, as he is quoted in the gospel of Mark, when he said, "If you love only those who love you, what reward do you have? Don't even tax collectors do the same? And if you care only for your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing? Doesn't everyone do that?"
I look at my family and my life, and recognize what a gift they truly are.
I am humbled by the understanding that my life is not solely the result of my own actions; but that I have been the recipient of countless acts of charity from people who never expected to be thanked, and who knew they would never meet the people they helped.
The only appropriate acknowledgement of thanks that I can give is to work to ensure that someone in the future has this same opportunity.