Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Family Forte: Grateful for Your Toilet

     Consider what the words in this list have in common: health, money, friends, food, spouse, faith, weekends, grace, bed, education, laughter, and toilet.  At this point you’re thinking, “Topher, the last one, toilet, just doesn’t fit with the others.”  Au contraire, mon frère!  If you think about these words as a list of things people are, or should be, grateful for, you’ll see that it fits right in.  If you’ve ever been in a situation where one was needed but not available, you learned to appreciate them very quickly!
Ethan enjoys the fresh mango juice in Cuba.
    We were travelling down a long country road toward third-world airport when disaster almost struck.  My 10-year-old, Ethan, had been outstanding on the 9-day mission trip to Cuba with Central Church of Christ.  His heart, body, and bowel system had stayed strong through the days of grueling heat, change in diet, and hard workload of constructing a kitchen on a farm serving the elderly and orphans in the impoverished country.  Here we were, just hours away from flying home, when Ethan whispered in my ear in the back of the van bouncing down the remote road, “Dad, I have to go to the bathroom.”

     Eyebrows raised I asked, “Number 1 or number 2, son?”
     “Number two.”
     “How soon?” I asked.
     “Very soon.”
Ethan under the mango trees in Cuba
     I yelled to the driver, “Perdon por favor, necesitamos un baño pronto!” (Translation: “Excuse me please, we need a bathroom quick!”)   The Cubans thought it funny when they pulled over to the side of a forested patch and said in English, “Welcome to the Cuban bathroom.”  With toilet paper in hand Ethan exited into the dense trees and returned very “relieved.”
Wary for signs of illness, I asked, “Is everything ok?”
     “Yes,” he replied.  “And now I’m really thankful for toilets!” 
     I’m frequently asked in life, “Why do you smile so much?”  My answer is so simple that anyone can do it.  I try to find something in every situation and setting of life to be thankful for.  My prayers to God always start with thanks.  Every meal I receive, I strive to thank my waitress, cashier, or my wife.  Even if I’m in the worst of moods I can turn that frown upside down by following the sage advice of the old hymn, “Count Your Many Blessings.”  
“Count your blessings;
Name them one by one.
Count your blessings;
See what God hath done.
Count your blessings;
Name them one by one.
Count your many blessings;
See what God hath done."

     Simple gratitude can change not only your mood, but the course of your actions and your entire day.
     Recently I was meditating on the scripture from Colossians 3:15-17 which deals heavily with gratitude in each verse.  While cleaning a toilet one day and meditating specifically on giving thanks in whatever I do, these silly words started flowing as if they had suddenly been flushed down the heavenly drain straight to my head. I hope they make you laugh as you strive to feel and show more gratitude in your life.

"Are you thankful for your toilet?" by: Topher Wiles
Are you thankful for your toilet? Then give thanks while you clean it.
Are you thankful for your food? Then say "Grace" and really mean it.
Are you thankful for your sports? Then have integrity while you play 'em.
Are you thankful for your home? Then those bills you timely pay 'em.
Are you thankful for your family? Then to them let kind words be spoken.
Are you thankful for you wife?  Then let her heart not be broken.
Are you thankful for your life?  Then honor parents who made you.
Are you thankful for forgiveness?  The bless those who betrayed you.
Are you thankful for your Jesus?  Then obey Him as your Lord.
Are you thankful for your God? Then always let Him be adored.
As you strengthen yourself and your family, may you find gratitude in all things great and small.

     "Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him." - Colossians 3:15-17
     The word “forte” comes from the latin word “fortis” meaning strength.  Our weekly Family Forte article in The Expositor is the effort of family at Central Church of Christ to give your family the love, care, and attention it needs to become a stronger version of itself.  If we can help you in any way, please contact us at Central Church of Christ through email,, or through our website,