A couple of times I realized in the presence of my neighbor that I was wearing the bank logo-ed ball cap he graciously gave me before the bank fired him. There’s a family ski video that now serves as an embarrassing reminder of a college-era New Orleans trip that, well, didn’t go quite as planned. For years, the 14th tee box at our home golf course featured a dimple-marked cooler from when my uncle unfortunately hit a different type of water ball.
Of course, not all is humorous or ironic. There are the deeper, painful reminders like the emotional scars of a tragedy forever linked to the holiday season. I think of a wonderful Florida man who must pass the house of his deceased younger brother each time he enters or leaves the family farm…
Since November, my sister’s hair stylist has been murdered, my cousin’s family friend has passed away at the age of 39, his sister-in-law’s mother has succumbed to a very rare and fast-acting form of cancer, our preacher’s son has been diagnosed with Stage IV brain cancer, and, most recently, the brother of my best grad school friend lost his battle with depression and other personal problems.
Sometimes I’m amazed that folks can even get out of bed in the morning.
Question: How much of our thankfulness is based on the blessings in front of us versus the knowledge of our deliverance from past trials and tribulations? If you look to the greatest symbol in the world, the pleasure and pain, the up and down, the yin and yang are inseparable.
An unattributed quote I found: “Gratitude is a constant attitude of thankfulness and appreciation for life as it unfolds. Living in the moment, we are open to the abundance around us and within us. We express appreciation freely. We contemplate the richness of our life. In life’s trials, we seek to understand, to accept, to learn.”
I’m thankful for family, the innocence and wonder in my daughters’ eyes, those friends and even strangers who offer hope in a smile or tender touch, and especially for God’s ultimate reminder, there front and center at church.
[EDITOR’S NOTE: Rest in peace, Andrew Ethridge, who passed away 12 days after this post.]