We’ve come to the week when we write and discuss gratitude in general, and giving thanks to God in particular. This Thanksgiving is different for me as I’ll miss teaching my rambunctious Chinese junior highers. One aspect I will miss in particular, not being in the classroom this week, is teaching about Abraham Lincoln’s Thanksgiving proclamation of 1863, given smack dab in the middle of the Civil War. Near the beginning Lincoln says,
“The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God.”
So constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget ….others are of so extraordinary a nature that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften. Off the top of my head here is what I so constantly enjoy:
- Running water.
- Education. My life would be so different without the education I’ve received it’s hard to even fathom.
- People stopping when the light turns red. Or at least stopping often enough that we comment when they don’t!
- Books and literacy.
- Music. And especially holiday music that creates atmosphere and brings memories.
- Variety in food choices.
- People who love us.
- People who we love.
So constantly enjoyed we are prone to forget. How often did an “Oh yeah, that is good!” run through your mind at you read the items listed above? Honestly, this is a short, short list of the blessings that surround me. I listed them in under a minute and often I’m not even aware of them.
Until a crisis.
So many parts of life are like back ground noise and we just tune them out. And then suddenly that which is important zooms in. This can be the gift of a crisis. I don’t want to candy coat crisis or pain or the many added troubles that can come. Two weeks ago Tuesday morning I received a call from my sister saying she was at the hospital with Mom and Dad because Dad had broken his hip. And like that our world zoomed in. I spent the first two days in a fog unable to focus on any task before me, feeling very far away and yet also very near. Crisis lifts the curtain and reminds us of what life would (will) be like without that person as it slaps us in the face with the new reality. Once again on Tuesday mortality waved at me and I wanted to give her the metaphorical finger shouting, “You will not have the last word!”
Because of his network of relationships, Dad’s fall was felt round the world! One of the gifts of crisis is the reminder that we are not alone (side note and soap box: crisis is not the time to build relationships, it’s the time to rely on them. Build them before the crisis.). We fell hard into them — getting the word to pray out far and wide. Fielding phone calls. Sending emails. From present active relationships to previous “I still care very much about you” ones, the word got out. And each of us in the immediate family have been sustained.
Abraham Lincoln nailed on the head, we are prone to forget. I am prone to forget. Yet, it is true; we are truly blessed by God. These past two weeks amongst the pain and sadness and scare that come with crisis, we have seen some of her gifts as well.
What gifts have you received in a crisis?
Please share one by hitting the comment button.