Thanksgiving in America is a big deal. It’s the first winter holiday, and the winter can be horrible in the USA, as we found out last week when the latest polar vortex came south. Buffalo received many feet of snow in their football stadium (I have heard numbers from 7 – 12 feet), and the venue had to be shifted to Detroit. But it’s a time when we can gather in front of a fire, and eat and chat to our heart’s content. Then there is Black Friday right after T-day, when extreme shopping takes place….. so far I have managed to avoid this every year.
At this time of year I try to be especially thankful, as I have a lot of things to be grateful for. An Australian family. My US family. A city where I love to live. The desert where I love to hike. Eyes that can see an 11,000 ft mountain from my window. Legs that can dance. A mind that can think and engage in stimulating conversation. And a country where I can worship God freely, and don’t get laughed at for doing this.
With so many things to be thankful for, what happened today?
I woke up at 3 am thinking about a new book that will be published soon. At 7 am I got out of bed thinking about the Arizona Cardinals, my football team that has a 9-1 record which is better than any other team. Tonite I am going to a C&W dancehall to dance the two-step, waltz, and foxtrot. Lots of things to look forward to…. lots of happiness.
I played pickleball for two hours this morning, and I love this game. It’s an ideal game for seniors. Pickleball is miniature tennis…..a smaller court with net which is a bit more than two feet above the floor. The ball is baseball-size but hollow, and made of light plastic with holes in it. You can belt it hard but you can’t make it go very fast. If you have ever played tennis, you can play pickleball. In fact anyone can play pickleball. However, this morning I played erratically (we played only doubles) and I won only one game. Now I am a competitor, and I left the venue feeling down because I hadn’t played well, and also because my leg was hurting a bit.
For lunch, a vegetarian omelet boosted my attitude. Later I dropped by the store to buy some cashew nuts, and a trail mix which has small chunks of chocolate in it. Chocolate always cheers me up!
After leaving the store, I happened to walk by an elderly lady bending over her shopping cart, trying to lift a sack into the back seat of her car. She was obviously struggling so I stopped to offer help. “Oh thank you!” she said gratefully. “I wrecked my shoulder, and it is very hard to lift these sacks”. After I lifted the remaining sacks into the car, I offered to wheel the cart back to the cart-storage area. “Would you?” she responded. “That would be wonderful”. When I looked back it was quite a shock……she was still bent over, permanently unable to straighten her back. Tears came as I walked to my car, and I cried for about five minutes.
I remembered that I had prayed the Lord’s Prayer at 3 am this morning when I first awoke. I usually embellish the prayer, to make it more practical in my life.
Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
(and Lord please show me where I can help in a tiny way).
I guess God showed me how I could help a bent-over lady in a tiny way.
What came to me later: at this Thanksgiving I can also be thankful that I am able to help other people. I had never before regarded this as something to be thankful for.
Post-script: when I arrived home a package awaited me. An early Christmas package from my mother in Australia. The brown paper package was covered by 11 stamps each costing $2.55. My mother is 92, lives alone, and evidently is mindful that she can help someone to hope……because the package certainly did that for me! Thank you mum…..love you.
The Gray Nomad.
Probing the practice of Christian believers……
And if you pour out that with which you sustain your own life for the hungry, and satisfy the need of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. And the Lord shall guide you continually, and satisfy you in drought and in high places, and make strong your bones. And you shall be like a watered garden and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not. (Isaiah chapter 58).
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