Thanksgiving Day is almost here (next week, to be exact) – a time to stop and reflect on the past year, and years – a time once again to recount our blessings. I’m writing this column a week early so the Day doesn’t take you by surprise. Personally, I wish things would slow down a bit.
I was making a speaking presentation to a credit union group in Cleveland, Ohio, a few years back – Cleveland, the home of the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame. The credit union group to whom I was speaking had gone all out for this employees’ training day. The training room was all decorated in festive Thanksgiving style. And at lunch, we enjoyed a full-blown Thanksgiving dinner – turkey and all the trimmings.
Across the Miles
The title of my morning presentation was, “Making Your Life Count.” The day’s Thanksgiving theme gave me extra freedom to place additional emphasis on the importance of being thankful and “an attitude of gratitude.” I stressed the importance of appreciating “little pleasures” and mentioned “the smell of coffee in the morning” as an example.
At the end of the morning session I was approached by a woman who introduced herself as Erma. Erma was conservatively dressed and I guessed her to be a half-dozen years my senior.
“You are right about the smell of coffee, and the little things that bring us pleasure,” she offered.
“It’s not the big things, or events, that bring us fulfillment. The big things don’t come very often. And they seldom meet our expectations,” she continued.
Then she smiled a sweet smile as she said, “But little things happen every day. And recognizing them and being thankful for them makes for a happy life.”
I could not have said it better myself. I will long remember Erma.
It was John Anthony who wrote, “Savor life’s tiny delights – a crackling fire, a glorious sunset, a hug from a child, a walk with a friend, a kiss behind the ear.”
So, in light of Erma’s wisdom, here are a few things for which I am thankful.
I am thankful for the laughter of little boys and girls, the pride of grandparents, the hope of young love and the wisdom that comes with graying hair.
I am grateful for the blue of a clear sky, rolling thunder, spectacular displays of lightning and the smell and sound of approaching rain.
And I am thankful for the night sky filled with stars and the comfort I feel in knowing God “telleth their number and he calleth them all by their names.” (Psalm 147:4.)
I’m thankful for the smell of a wood fire, frying bacon, morning coffee and all the smells of Christmas: cinnamon and cloves and sage and cedar and apples and oranges.
I am grateful for comfortable sweatshirts, warm socks, a good coat, and soft leather gloves.
I am thankful for well-tuned chainsaws, sharp axes, and plenty of wood in the rick.
And I am grateful, as an old preacher used to say in his prayer, “that I woke up this morning and put my feet on the floor in a sound mind.”
I am thankful for good eyesight and good health.
I’m thankful for the music of Paul McCartney, George Strait, The Carpenters, John McDermott, The Temptations and The Buckinghams, to name a few.
I am grateful I can lie down at night and drift off into a restful sleep knowing that God’s going to be up all night anyway. “Behold, He who keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.” (Psalms 121:4)
I am thankful for the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon, the Grand Canyon, the Atlantic and the Pacific shores, the Great Smokey Mountains, the Great Plains and the hills of Tennessee.
I’m thankful for the changes of the seasons; the first flowers of spring, the green of summer, the changing leaves of autumn, and the bite of winter’s air.
I am thankful for all those old gospel songs I heard over and over and over again as a boy. Now, their words often revisit me like trusted old friends.
I’m grateful for a warm bed and a cool pillow.
I’m thankful for The University of Tennessee and the hope of better days for the Volunteers.
I am thankful for the promise of eternal life. When I think about it – when I really stop and think about a place where tomorrow will always come, it takes my breath away.
I am thankful for family – for loving smiles, warm hugs, and happy memories.
I am thankful for Red Wing boots, Wrangler jeans, Orvis flannels shirts, Carhartt jackets, and Stetson hats.
I’m thankful for homemade beef stew, chili and hot dogs, country ham, hot, homemade biscuits, and old-fashioned, handmade hamburgers with a big slice of onion.
I am thankful for glorious sunrises and spectacular sunsets.
But above all else, I am thankful that “God loved us and sent His son.”
Here’s to getting an early start on counting your blessings!