Sing a song of Thanksgiving
Usually when Mary Lou and I enter the doors of the First United Methodist Church in Bainbridge, members know that my grandson, Henry, must have some part in the service. I am more normally found at the organ bench at First Presbyterian in Donalsonville (though maybe not so much the last few months).
Sunday, Henry’s children’s choir joined with all the youth and adult choirs in singing a call to worship that was played only to the beat of a djembe (a traditional African drum), shakers and three xylophones. The mighty organ was silent, but the voices were clear as they sang a song of thanksgiving. The words were sung in Shona, the language of Zimbabwe, but that didn’t really matter. Such is the power of music and song that you can communicate without understanding the words.
Sitting there in the sanctuary, I reflected on the continued blessings I have had this Thanksgiving. Has the year been perfect? No, but probably better than I deserved. It seems there is always some blessing in even the moments of darkness and despair.
I am thankful for the continued good health of my family. This is not something I take for granted. As we get older, we have the opportunity to see the things that happen to those around us. It used to be that most of those people are older, but along the way I seem to have caught up with or even passed them in age.
Just this week I had the opportunity to learn of the good reports of two friends that haven’t really had much good news lately related to their health. They both had good checkups that weren’t a certainty six months ago. I am thankful for their returning health and for the fact that God does indeed answer prayer.
I am thankful for the people who intersect in my life in so many different ways. This year, I have rediscovered old friends, made new friends, and celebrated the lives of friends who have passed on.
I am thankful for a successful year in business, for employees that take pride in their work, and for a talented management team that has dreams for the future. I am thankful for their partnership and hopeful that I can live up to their expectations.
The things we as Americans have to be thankful for are so numerous that we can’t count them all. You would never know the bounty of our harvest by watching the daily news. However, you could see it this week as people in our community hosted a county wide luncheon for those less fortunate. We all have more in common than we sometimes think.
Health, success, friends and family are all the obvious things for which we should be thankful. Look for the small things that make up the endless daily routines of each and every one of us. The singing bird, the color of the leaves, the blinding sunrise and the twinkling stars.
The small successes of our struggling little town, the enthusiasm of those that want to believe in the opportunity for a better job, a better community and a better life.
Tasting a new food, visiting somewhere you have never been, catching a big fish or finding a big buck, and enjoying a good ball game, win or lose.
The unexpected kindness, the smile from a stranger, the wagging tail of a dog, the sparkling eyes of a small child. Our blessings are everywhere, often when we aren’t expecting them.
Each of us have troubles and I don’t mean to diminish the pain that those troubles cause, but we each have a chance, for just the blink of an eye, to see the good in life almost everywhere we turn.
I heard a song of Thanksgiving today and it touched my heart. Don’t just eat your turkey and dressing this week. Look around you, no matter how your life is going, and find just one small thing that you hadn’t noticed before. Don’t tell anyone, but as you close your eyes that night say, if only to yourself, for that I am thankful.
Dan Ponder can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org