Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thanksgiving, yes even you can be thankful!

I've been trying to think about what to write today. So many things race through my mind. I wanted to express my thanks for my good fortune, my family and my life. So often we don't give enough appreciation or let others know of our gratitude for the blessings they are in our life. At this special time of the year, we are given a day set aside for just that very thing--thanks!

I'd like to start by expressing thanks for my life. It wasn't anything that I did that allowed me to sojourn on this planet. I had very little to do with it. I think my parents were pretty much done with their little family. They had four boys quite close together and didn't think of having anymore for exactly eight years after the birth of my youngest brother. But then SURPRISE! they got me.I considered myself a bonus baby, as I was referred to casually from time to time. What does that mean? Well a bonus on a job is a lucrative monetary gift for a job well done, or a gesture of good will from your boss. I like to think I was both. A gift and a gesture of good will. After having four boys, mom needed a girl to talk to.

And was I spoiled? Certainly not, you, you bully. Just because I could do whatever I wanted to, or go wherever I wanted to or got whatever I wanted, doesn't mean I was spoiled, but that's beside the point--I was loved. Maybe an object of jealousy, (I won't mention my brother David. He lost his baby status on account of me.) But I was loved and knew it.I was also taught a good many things for which I am doubly grateful. Mom saw to my domestic education, cooking, cleaning, sewing and Grandma Oldham saw that I learned to iron, use a wringer washer and crochet--and oh, yes, dust the bottom legs of her dining room table and chairs.I was taught in the traditions of my forefathers. Many the day I'd get to spend with my mom or grandma listening to family stories of the past. I gained such an appreciation for the ancestors that left home and hearth to journey to America for religious freedom and gospel solidarity. I can't be more grateful to them for that heritage of faith I was left.

I got the best education government money could buy. Elementary school, junior high, high school and junior college. All pretty much for pennies. Does it serve me well now? You betcha! I can read and write and do 'rithmatic--sort of.

I am overwhelmed at the gospel I've been granted to participate in. I'm so grateful to know that God loves me and that he sent His Son to suffer, bleed and die for me. And that all things were created by Him. So I'm thankful for the green grass, the brilliant blue sky, the waving palm trees and the mild temperatures of Camarillo. How blessed am I to live in Paradise. (It comes with a high price, but it's worth it.)

I've often wondered who atheists thank for the world and all the beautiful creations on it. Mother Earth? Luck or the Big Bang Theory? Good luck with that!
I'm thankful to have served a mission for my church and when I came home to a perceived lonely life, was granted the extreme pleasure of meeting one Tim Malone and the rest, as they say, is romantic history. We were blessed with a bonus child of our own. My Mike. Could there have been a sweeter boy? I don't think so! I have gained the blessings of untold joy and unending happiness. And I know exactly who to thank for that.

So when I see earthquakes, poverty, famine, fires, floods, economic crisis, sin, suffering, political unrest, war, you might ask--How the h#@$ can you be thankful to live in a world like that. Well to quote Samwise Gamgee, "There's still some good in this world, Mr. Frodo, something worth fighting for." That's exactly how I feel about being thankful. Thankful people are happy, contented, peaceful, free from panic and fear. Thankful people love and love unconditionally. I'm still working on that. But I'm thankful for that as a challenge. If I can love in spite of the happenings in the world or people who hurt and make afraid, then I'm truly blessed and doubly thankful.

May you find your own thankfulness. Look hard, it's there. You might just be thankful you're not dead. (Or not!) Tomorrow's another day, life is a present. Enjoy the moment, remember the past and look forward to the future.

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