Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thank You Day

I have to take care of a couple of housekeeping chores before we start on today’s wisdom. First, if you want to see a picture of Terry, the homeless guy I wrote about last week, go to Colleen’s blog. She posted a picture of them together. She also has her own account of the gumbo story there. http://ceotoole.blogspot.com/ Crescent City Chronicles

Secondly, I just have to tell you that I’ve been thinking a lot about OJ Simpson lately. You should remember that I spent last winter at PDA. So when I got in my car for the first cold morning this week it had been over two years since I put my gloves on. My black leather gloves. And they don’t fit anymore. They are decidedly too small. I will admit that I may have gained some weight in the last couple of years but not in my fingers. No sireee. My fingers are the same size as the day Beaven put a ring on my left hand almost 40 years ago. If anything, sometimes that ring is too big for the finger. The only possible explanation is that the gloves shrank. I rest my case.

Now to today’s business:

A couple of years ago I met a lady who sings the Doxology when she wakes up every morning. She said she sings it softly so she doesn’t wake her husband if he’s still in the bed beside her.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow. Praise him all creatures here below. Praise him above ye heavenly hosts. Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

Today is my 61st birthday. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. Given the arrangement of Thanksgiving on the calendar, every seven years or so my birthday falls on Turkey Day. Giving thanks has been built into my life. I don’t think that’s an accident.

Somewhere I heard that the name Jane means “God’s Grace.” And God has been very gracious to me. When I was young my family had just a whole heap of troubles. Everybody in our house was addicted to one thing or another. I’m talking falling down and passing out addictions, not the wimpy addictions like shopping or gambling. I was the only one to emerge relatively unscathed from this horrible circus. I don’t know why or how this happened unless you use the phrase “by the grace of God.”

I understand Grace. I know how much I have to be grateful for. I know how bad it could have been. I never felt an obligation to be thankful, it just happened.

A year ago when I was thinking how I would spend the milestone of my 60th birthday, I decided I wanted to spend the day in thankful fellowship with God. I wanted to do something physical to celebrate a healthy body that still works, albeit with a few rusty joints here and there in the morning. I ended up spending the day driving to the Gulf Coast to my assignment with the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance. I spent the next four months managing work sites in Mississippi. I was in close communion with my Creator and it was very physical work. Then I went home on April Fools Day. I love the quiet symbolism of being a Fool for Christ. There are worse ways to celebrate your 61st year. Then I went back in August and spent another two months or so doing the same thing again and loved every minute.

I calculated that I spent over half of my 61st year working for God. And that’s just the way I wanted it. Beaven and I celebrated the completion our 39th year of marriage a couple of weeks ago and hope to spend a good chunk of our 40th year working for PDA together. Is that the poetry of life, or what? Can you tell I was an accountant for a living?

Last night I had a small celebratory fire out in the field by the kids’ playhouse. (Yes, I know I have a bad reputation but this one was harmless. See my August 23, 2005 posting.) It was strong enough to come back to life this morning with just the addition of a few pieces of wood. It’s mostly cedar and makes the most wonderful crackling sound. The perfect backdrop for a reverent and quiet “Thank You.”

In the meantime, I’ve got pies to bake for tomorrow. I will leave you with one of my favorite songs from the Veggie Tales movie, “Madame Blueberry.” If you every get a chance to see this movie, especially with a grandchild, be sure to watch it. Especially in the light of our current economic challenges, the show speaks of the dangers of having too much “stuff” and how we should be grateful for just what we have.

I thank God for this day,
For the sun in the sky,
For my mom and my dad,
For my piece of apple pie,
For our home on the ground,
For God’s love that’s all around.
That’s why I give thanks every day.

'Cause a thankful heart is a happy heart
I’m glad for all I have, that’s an easy way to start.
For the love that He shares
'Cause He listens to our prayers
That’s why I give thanks every day.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.

1 comment:

jason_g said...

Happy Birthday and Happy Thanksgiving to you and Beaven and family. I hope that we can cross paths again soon to sit down and talk. Keep us posted on your whereabouts. You set the example of where most of us would like to be when we are 60 or older or younger.