thoughts on thanks....

Every year at Thanksgiving, I think of our first Thanksgiving together. Kelsey and I were married in July of 1989 (she was 12), and at that fall, we were houseparents at a boys home in Williston, North Dakota. We found ourselves at a Thanksgiving Service there at an Assemblies of God Church. The pastor opened the mic for anyone who wanted to share what they were thankful for, and the first family to the front was one that I knew had been out of work for six months. He had recently found a job and they were on the road back to financial stability, but they had lived half the year in a very difficult position.

At this point, I was just a few months into thinking about how to pay for things - I had literally never lived on my own or thought much about how the food arrived at the table. I went straight from High School and living with my parents to living in a college dorm to marriage, and it was only when we got married that I began to understand what it meant to make ends meet.

Here stood a man who had carried those pressures in an extraordinary way for six months. His family never missed church. He looked for work dilligently....and yet nothing had broken open for them until just recently. He stood there and thanked God for all the lessons learned during this time of difficulty, for growing closer to his wife, and for the help from the community of faith around him. He showed me joy in difficulty - thankfulness in all things. He cried. We cried. And we all were thankful.

Yesterday was a great one. After loading up the boys to go downtown with a group of others to feed the homeless, we spent the afternoon at the house with sundry and assorted friends, feasting on turkey and all the trimings. Kelsey, Diane, Cheryl, John, and Costco outdid themselves. It made me want to fully enter into the spirit of the day and wander out into the backyard blasting musket balls at venison and shouting pilgrimy things like "I beseech thee!" and "Thine fancy hatband showeth you to be a liberal!" Instead, I ate....played Scrabble with Jackson....and was very, very thankful.

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