For more than twenty years, I’ve had to write something for Thanksgiving. Often, I’ve used the Biblical story of the “Ten Lepers” for inspiration. If Jesus wondered why only one leper was grateful for his healing, what must God think of us when we take our blessings for granted? This year, I’m beginning with Tom’s words, “Every time I turn around, there’s another pleasant surprise from God.”
As we left for Tucson last month, our minds were riddled with worry and sadness. Our grandson had been injured playing rugby and needed surgery and the day before we left my nephew was killed in a car accident. Staying home was out of the question. I was conducting my mother’s memorial service in Tucson. We packed our bags and drove first to my sister’s home six hours away and then back to Buffalo Airport. The next morning, Tom opened the drapes in our hotel room and said, “Every time, I turn around there’s another pleasant surprise from God.”
What was he talking about? He pointed to the idyllic country scene just outside the hotel window and began ticking off the list of blessings we had received over the past twenty-four hours. He started with the previous night. When we crossed the bridge at Niagara Falls, we needed gas immediately. He asked a taxi driver for directions to the nearest gas station. That stranger not only led us to the nearest open gas station, but also all the way to the Buffalo airport. He even paid our toll as we crossed a toll bridge. As he disappeared into the night, we gave thanks to God for his kindness. Tom finished his list with the unexpected Jacuzzi tub in our hotel room.
Yes, God had given us little blessings here and there, as we set out on this journey, our hearts full of sadness and worry. I needed to give God thanks. I offer you this tip. God offers small blessings, surprises, even on the worst days. We can follow St. Paul’s instructions, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18)