I started my day mired in the gunk that grinds mental machinery to a screeching halt. So many negative thoughts ping-ponged between my ears! The worst part of it all? I was trying to have my morning quiet time—reading Scripture, praying, conversing with God—all that stuff believers are supposed to do.
God has a sense of humor. No doubt about that. The words waiting on the pages of my Bible to capture my attention on that overcast morning included these gems:
in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 NASB
Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name. Hebrews 13:15 NASB
Oh, yeah. It is Thanksgiving week. But really, God? Your solution to my deep-seated funk is to remind me that I need to be thankful?
I did not feel very thankful.
The ghosts of Thanksgivings past bubbled up from the depths of my memory. Mom cooking, her favorite activity. Jeff returning from an early morning hunt. The windows steamed and the wafting aromas of a meal we could not wait to devour.
I remembered our last Thanksgiving with Dad. Uncle Ed coerced Jeff to tote a “Clay County Special” to the table. Think whoopie cushion for rednecks made of a u-shaped piece of wire, a strong rubber band, and a large washer. Mom’s vinyl chairs were the perfect amplifier. Jeff let ‘er rip shortly after the prayer ended and the table erupted in laughter.
Except for Dad.
Dad glared across the top of his glasses at Jeff and never said a word. The meal went on. In a quiet moment Jeff fired his second shot, and laughter echoed through the house. Aunt Linda had tears running down her face. Dad, stoic, unaffected by the hilarity, stared at Jeff for the second time and commented, “Mister, I think you need to go to the bathroom!” And the laughter erupted again. Mom lost it on that one and belly-laughed with the rest of us.
Memories. To be a thankful person I must hold the good ones and toss the bad ones. Rehearsing bad memories does no one any good, and bad memories grow heavier with time.
I sat there in the early morning, conducting my one-person pity party, and thought about the changes I have seen in sixty short years. Some bad but so many more good. The years have brought change, but then change is the key characteristic of life.
I read those verses again.
And I listed some of my life blessings and voiced my thanks to God for providing them. Well, more like He backed a truck up to my life and dumped them. I have much for which to be thankful. I only need to open my eyes and my heart and begin the inventory.
Like WD-40 coating a rusty hinge I found that counting those blessings loosened my thanksgiving muscles.
Happy Thanksgiving from John and Shawn!