The holiday of Thanksgiving is behind us now, but the thanks giving continues as it should. Each day we are given blessings for which to be thankful for, even though we often take those gifts for granted.
If you awaken each morning from a night’s slumber, that’s a gift of life and a blessing to be thankful for.
If your basic needs are supplied each day, that’s a blessing of provision; again something for which to give thanks.
The majority of us here in the USA are blessed beyond measure, yet we whine, complain, and over extend ourselves monetarily by purchasing more material goods than we need while our fellow human beings across the world suffer from hunger, lack of clean water, poverty, homelessness, war, strife, and persecution.
And I wonder are we truly thankful here in the land of plenty? Not just on Thanksgiving, but on each and every day of the life we are given?
On Thanksgiving Day here at Mama’s Empty Nest, we feasted with our traditional meal of turkey and stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, homemade noodles, yam, corn, peas, fruit salad, cranberry sauce, and dinner rolls, topping it all off with pumpkin, cherry, and lemon meringue pie and Thanksgiving decorated mini cupcakes.
Eleven of us, missing a few of the family who couldn’t join us this year, gathered around our dining room table laden with plentiful food and gave thanks to the One who provides our needs. We ingested our bounteous meal, shared stories, laughed, and spent an evening doing what we usually do when we gather together – played games.
All blessings for which we are thankful.
The day after Thanksgiving, some of us headed back to work while some of us packed up suitcases to travel home in another state. By late afternoon, just Papa and Mama were left in the quiet empty nest.
We decided we would just enjoy an evening of rest, change into comfy clothes, eat Thanksgiving leftovers for dinner, and maybe snuggle down on the couch and watch some Christmas movies on the Hallmark Channel.
Low key. An evening of quietude. Chillaxing.
That’s when we heard and noticed a tanker firetruck parked on our road in between our house and our next door neighbor’s. By then, darkness had descended and the flashing lights seemed ominous as they reflected in our windows.
A police car appeared and started redirecting cars to turn around and go back the way they came. Flares were set out to stop traffic from traveling past our house from either direction.
Papa and I stepped outside to try to ascertain what was happening. We didn’t smell smoke so we knew there wasn’t a fire, but we watched as one of the firemen walked to our next door neighbor’s house and I became even more alarmed.
Had something happened to him? One by one, his house lights went out. The fireman walked back to his truck, then started coming down through our yard towards our home.
He informed us that two doors down, someone had backed a truck over a gas meter and natural gas was spewing out underneath the vehicle. Yikes! Suddenly, I had visions of our houses blowing up in a huge explosion.
The fireman said he thought the best and most cautious thing to do was evacuate our home. As he spoke, we watched next door neighbor drive by in his vehicle as he was evacuated as well. We agreed and gave our cell phone number to the fireman so he could call us when it was safe to return.
We hurriedly prepared to leave, grabbed coats, slipped on shoes, turned off the TV. I glanced around my home thinking should I take something with me? What if it’s all gone when I come back? I turned to my husband and asked him that.
His response – things can be replaced. And he’s right. Even though some material things are precious to me like photos of my loved ones and simple family “treasures” from my folks’ home and my in-laws’, and I would be sad to lose those items, they are just things. I could retain them in my memory.
Racing out of our home and driving to a restaurant to eat dinner, I thought about what it must have been like for all of our fellow countrymen who had to evacuate their homes because of the wildfires this past summer, the horrible hurricanes, and flooding that ensued.
My heart ached for those affected by the disasters even more than it did while those events were going on because I better understood now the panic they must have felt at losing their homes or possibly their lives.
And I uttered a prayer of thanksgiving because in all of my years on this earth, this was the first time I’ve ever had to leave my house and wonder if it would still stand when I returned.
I’ve experienced several tornado threats including one that set down not far from where we lived and even a minor earthquake and some tremors, but thankfully escaped with no damage.
I was so grateful we were spared from disasters in the past, but time has a way of making you forgetful, making you less cognizant of all those blessings once bestowed upon you.
Later that evening, we received the fireman’s all clear call and returned to our home. The only remnant of the event was the gas company truck still working at the scene. Firetrucks gone, flares removed, police car off to help someone else no doubt.
So my heart was filled with gratitude. I’m grateful our home was still standing and intact and so were our neighbors’ houses.
I’m grateful for first responders that keep us safe and protect us from harm and in doing so put their own lives on the line. This is even more on my heart since just before Thanksgiving, a young police officer in our region was shot and killed while on duty.
And I’m grateful to the gas company workers who may have had to leave their own leftover Thanksgiving dinners, family, and homes to fix the problem.
Friday night’s cause for alarm supplied a cause for thanks giving.
And my heart is grateful.
“The unthankful heart… discovers no mercies; but let the thankful heart sweep through the day and, as the magnet finds the iron, so it will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings!” ~ Henry Ward Beecher