Thursday, November 28, 2013

In All Things

Of course we are all mindful to pause on this day and give thanks; admid the preparations of food and fixin's, in the midst of scouring Black Friday ads and planning out shopping strategies, among the visitors and gatherings and of course in the middle of holiday cheer. Yes, we're stopping to give thanks. 

I have more to be thankful for than pen could ever write. More to say thanks for than words could ever express. Yet I'm also aware of those around me who may not be able to say the same. 

Today someone I know is recovering from surgery after a long, painful struggle. Someone else is fighting cancer. One of my own loved ones will not go to dialysis today, Thanksgiving, and will have to muster up every ounce of strength to make it until Saturday's treatment. One family I know had the bottom fall out with a sudden job loss on Monday. Yet another dear one will muster up the strength and dignity to be at the table with an ex and their new spouse, all for the sake of the kids.

Another family will be finalizing plans for the loss of their loved one as they prepare for a funeral in a matter of days. I don't know where the single mom and her 5 children will be today, considering they lost everything in a fire just days ago. I'm certain of individuals who will spend today all by themselves.

I wonder how these folks are able to give thanks today. I wonder about their worries and fears, their struggles and pain. I wonder how they'll celebrate today and what their list of thanks will include. Let me add that I know many of them personally and they're people who would NEVER ask for pity. In fact, I'm learning the lesson of giving thanks by watching their example.

You've heard it before: What if you woke up today with only the things you had thanked God for yesterday?

I'm more mindful of what I have when I consider what could be. What I'm also mindful of are the direct links between thanksgiving and trials. We know the trials produce perseverance. We also know we're instructed to give thanks in ALL things. Whatever the circumstance. 

So today I'm learning to give thanks in all things. In pain. In trials. In joy. In blessing. In what has been taken away. In what has been received. I give thanks in all things, for all things. For the wounds. For the scars. For the tears. For the healing. I give thanks in all things. For those who've hurt me. For those who've loved me. For the one I prayed for. For the God who loved me enough to answer His way. 

I want to give thanks in all things, but sometimes it's hard. And in that moment when it's the most raw, giving thanks can be the last thing I want to do. But I'm learning. I know the road that leads from here. I also know the road I've travelled. I see the road others are travelling. Journeys that bring trials. Roads that bring pain. Paths that come with resistance. Steps that can be accompanied by heartache. Trials that bring tears and torment, but ultimately tests that turn into thanksgiving. Learning to give thanks...in all things. 

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