Want to hear two funny thanksgiving stories? Harry was lying on his deathbed. He turned to his wife Ethel and said, “Ethel, here I am on my deathbed, and you are by my side. Remember when we got married, coming down the church steps I fell and broke my ankle, and Ethel you wife be my side. Then I went to war, got wounded and came home to months of recovery, and Ethel you were by my side. Then there was the time I invested all our savings in a new business and lost it all, and Ethel you were by my side. Now here I am lying here dying, and Ethel you are by my side. Ethel You’re bad luck!”
Sound familiar? Most of us miss the whole party. We’re too busy texting, surfing the web, talking incessantly on our i-phone, punching some keypad on our i-pad or putting in the earplugs of on our i-pod. Meanwhile we missed most of the turning leaves, forgot somebody we love’s birthday, didn’t really hear what our mate said and wonder why our spiritual gas tank is just about empty.
We’ll walk a country mile to distract ourselves and miss what is in our own back yard. Not too long ago, after a wonderful week in New York City we stood in the long line at the airport. We paced just about everything we owned in the green basket that would carry our treasures through the machine and make sure we were not terrorists. I’ve always feared that I might lose something in the process. Sure enough, as the basket finally came out of the chute I began to gather up my stuff: belt, shoes, keys, fingernail file, and even my billfold. Peering into the bend my heart skipped a beat. My watch was missing! Where was my watch? I yelled, “I can’t find my watch!” I told my wife, “My watch is not in this bend.” I ran back to the uniformed officials and said, “Mister, I took my watch off with everything else—and it’s not there. That is my favorite watch.” The man looked at me for a long moment and said, “Sir, do you have two watches?” Irately I said, “No!” “Look on your arm.” My watch was there. I whispered to my wife, “Let’s get out of here—these people will think I’m crazy.”
My watch was on my wrist the whole time—and I missed it. Where’s my happiness? Where’s my joy? Where’s all the stuff in my life that really counts.” Advertisers tell us it is out there. We’re missing a lot. And if we only buy and then we can fill in the blanks—we’ll be happy. Maybe the secret to our happiness is a whole lot closer than we realized. Back to my first story. Ethel was not bad luck. She was there all the time. And I guarantee you she put up with a lot. Her dying husband missed it all.
Let’s quit muttering about what we’ve missed. Look around you. What do we have to be thankful for? Some Ethel that is still there or was with you for fifty years until she died. What’s your watch? A child that finally made it over fool’s hill. A bill that really did get paid off finally. Still living after that scary lab report. A country—not perfect by a long shot—but a land still free with opportunities galore. A faith, even though it might just flicker low—kept you going when we thought you couldn’t get out of bed.
I’m not a Pollyanna. I know as well as you if we keep reading the headlines we really will believe that the world is going to hell. And yet—look at your wrist. Your own special timepiece. Ponder your blessings and even those of us with the most difficult of lives—have a ticking watch close at hand. Thanksgiving provides us with a time to quit
Yelling about what we don’t have—and concentrate on the stuff that comes down our particular pike day after day after day.
“Now thank we all our God, with hearts and hand and voices,
Who wondrous things hath done, In whom the world rejoices;
Who from our mother’s arms, Hath blest us on our wayWith countless gifts of love, and still is ours today.”
|photo by dvidshub / flickr|
(The photograph at the top comes from the First Baptist Church, Clemson, SC. Thanks to Evelyn Boykin our Communion table was covered with a lush reminder of all the blessings that just keep coming to us all during Thanksgiving and the whole year.)
--RogerLovette / rogerlovette.blogspot.com