Give Thanks In All Circumstances

I’m heading out this evening for an overnight drive to my hometown for the Thanksgiving holiday.  This will be the first Thanksgiving at my childhood home in 21 years, and I’m excited.  Driving overnight isn’t the worst thing in the world; at least I won’t be able to see the long stretch of Ohio on either side of I-90.

So what am I thankful for this Thanksgiving?

That’s too easy.  I’m thankful for my life.  Earlier this year I seriously considered ending it.  Through the intervention and support of a loving family, I am not the person I was back in early April.  Sitting here, looking at the clear, cold sky, the light made brighter because of yesterday’s couple inches of snow, I’m thankful that another winter is coming around for me to enjoy – not just the succession of holidays that bring family together; but to watch the world change, first growing ever darker then, ever so slowly but increasing steadily, getting lighter a bit more each day.

I’m thankful for my church, Christ UMC here in Rockford, and its pastors Rev. Jane Eesley, Rev. Scott Himel, and Rev. Min Chea.  Each week I have the opportunity to worship with like-souled folks, to hear the Word proclaimed and to gather at God’s table and celebrate a small meal that hints at the feast that is to come.

I’m thankful for my wife.  If it weren’t for Lisa, especially this year, I’d be dead.  That isn’t an exaggeration.  This year has been a steep learning curve for both of us, and I know it’s hard on her, and I so wish I could make it easier.  And I even try!  All the same, she has my heart, and I have hers, and together we have made our way through the thickets and brambles of some of the worst life can toss one’s way.  She is more than my wife.  She is my best friend, my confidante, my lover, my support, the person in whose arms I find safety and comfort and peace.  Even when she gets angry, and we hash out our differences, I never forget I owe her my life.

Here's Lisa with our St. Bernard, Dreyfus

Here’s Lisa with our St. Bernard, Dreyfus

I’m thankful for my children.  Because of them, I kept delaying acting on my nearly-constant suicidal thoughts and, in the end, sought help rather than death.  Like Lisa, I owe each and both of them my life.  More than that, though.  This past year, each has blossomed so much.  Watching them grow in to the people they will be has been a joy, but this past year in particular has offered something special.  Perhaps it’s because both are on the cusp of major life changes.  One is set to graduate high school in the spring.  The other will matriculate to high school from middle school.  They are both so smart, so funny, so lively, so full of bits and pieces of Lisa and me.  Did I happen to mention they’re beautiful, too?  Yeah.  They’re beautiful.

My daughters.  Not really children anymore.

My daughters. Not really children anymore.

Not most of all, but certainly sitting just below my family, perhaps on the same level as my church, is music.  All kinds of music.  This past year has been one long year of learning all about it, teaching myself to think new ways about music, to wonder how it’s possible this magical art form can do so much for us.

I wish each of you, and all of you, the happiest of Thanksgivings.  Here’s to tryptophan comas, parades, football games, and annoying family arguments over things long forgotten.  Be safe, and I’ll be back (maybe, if I have anything to say) on Monday.  As always, thanks to you, Dear Reader, for letting your eyes pass over these words I toss out to the world.



About gksafford

I'm a middle-aged theologically educated clergy spouse, living in the Midwest. My children are the most important thing in my life. Right behind them and my wife is music. I'm most interested in teaching people to listen to contemporary music with ears of faith. Everything else you read on here is straw.
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