For most of the three decades I’ve been part of Portage Alliance Church, the congregation has celebrated Thanksgiving together a week after the actual holiday with a full-blown turkey dinner. That way, our church shindig doesn’t interfere with family events and we can keep the gratitude, festivities, and feasting going.
So, in keeping with the extended season, I thought I’d do the same. After all, thankfulness should be a habit all year ‘round.
If you’re like me, you find it challenging to be grateful all the time. But I love what some smart person once said: “If you don’t have all the things you want in life, think of all the things you DON’T have that you DON’T want.”
They are countless, but I’m picking five that come to my attention immediately. I challenge you to make your own list.
#1. Orphanhood. My Compassion child, Tarion, lives in Ecuador. Last year, his mother died of complications with Diabetes. Meanwhile, I’ve endured 54 years of my mother and she’s barely slowing down. (Kidding, Mom.) Seriously, I can’t imagine experiencing such a devastating loss as a child and am enormously grateful to still have my mother. I’d keep her for life if it were up to me.
#2. Homelessness. Last week, I listened while CHVN Radio broadcast from Siloam Mission in Winnipeg. I heard stories about life on the streets and how even nights at the shelter, while safer, are so much less inviting than the privacy and comfort I enjoy in my own home. I am truly thankful to have never experienced this misfortune.
#3. Blindness. As I write this, the golden October sunshine streams in through my windows, highlighted by the reds, oranges, and yellows of the autumn leaves and accentuating the warmth of the Persian melon walls surrounding me. I use my eyes from the moment I scowl at the beeping alarm clock until I simply cannot hold them open any longer, savoring the last paragraph of that “just one more chapter” before snuggling down for the night. While I complain about needing bifocals and probably even trifocals, I cannot fathom life without eyesight and I deeply appreciate mine.
#4. Paralysis. I’ve heard of three people who have suffered strokes following surgery in recent months, leaving them in worse condition than before the surgery. As I observe their long struggle to fight their way back, I am overwhelmed with gladness for my mobility. Getting dressed, walking to work, my fingers flying over the keyboard, cleaning our house, preparing a meal; I hope I never take any of it for granted.
#5. A Hellish Destiny. This one trumps all the others combined. Although death is on the list of top human fears, it is not one of mine. Not because I’m a brave or good person, but because I don’t have to dread what happens when I die. I may have been pawned off cheap by the enemy of my soul, but Jesus Christ redeemed me with his own life. I John 5:13 tells me, “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.” That’s what I call a confidence to be grateful for!
What do you not have that you don’t want? Cancer? Unemployment? A prodigal child? Divorce? Disability? I’d love to see your list.
|A tat like this one would make my list eventually. Or any tattoo, really.|