A year of thankfulness

Every day, a new poll is released by someone regarding different issues in America.   Would you vote for him or her? Do you believe the economy is the most critical American problem? Is the country headed in the right direction or not? Countless polls whose tallies change daily according to what is going on in the news.

No matter what the polls say about us and how we feel about our society, there is one matter we should agree on…. Thankfulness. The truth is we are not grateful enough for our blessings. I mean, none of us… zero, nada, no way, etc. We can’t vote thankfulness into our world, nor can we convince another to be humbled, but each November, we are reminded to count our blessings. Does it take a season to remind us to update our appreciation?

If we become more thankful daily, it will cure many of our ills. One thing is for sure: it would calm our anger and settle our nerves. Being grateful for the smallest of life’s gifts increases the size of our hearts. We become more empathetic and understanding. And the main benefit derived from thankfulness is we see God clearer.

Last year, on Thanksgiving Day, my husband was in a hospital’s Cardiac Care Unit recovering from open heart surgery. The week prior was a whirlwind of negativity. He didn’t know there was a problem with his heart until an intelligent physician questioned what we thought was a benign ailment.

Thanksgiving Thursday was David’s worst day. A problem arose in recovery due to an erratic heart rate, and for a few hours, I wasn’t so sure about tomorrow. I spent most of that day staring at a heart monitor, afraid I would miss something significant if I took my eyes off the squiggly lines jumping up and down. Of course, buzzers blared if something went haywire, but one can never fully trust automation, right? The polls say some medical equipment might be made in China anyway!

After midnight, I tried to rest near the room’s window, where cool, damp air seeped under the glass.  As I thought about families who had gathered around tables thanking God for their bounty, my prayer that evening was quite simple, “Dear God, get David’s heart rate down!”

It was nearly 1 am Friday morning when I rose, almost frozen from the seeping air, and walked toward David’s bed, where he was dozing.

Again, I stared at the monitor.  His heart rate was too high, hovering around 150 beats per minute, and I knew the buzzer would alert the staff at any moment. “God, please help us!”

“What does the monitor say?” David woke and asked as he must have felt my panic. “It’s okay, honey, not too bad.”  I lied, knowing he couldn’t turn to see the actual number on the machine behind him. Of course, he knew I was lying.

One minute later, I glanced at the numbers again, and his heart rate had dropped to a normal 72 beats per minute.

Folks celebrated last year and thanked God for the feast before them. They will do the same this year.  The holiday season will arrive on time, and most of us will join in the cheer and joy.

Until last year, I thought I was thankful enough for my life and grateful for the folks in it, but no, I wasn’t. I am more than thankful to see my husband playing golf or tennis today or getting frustrated when the dust settles on his little red car.

Last Thanksgiving Day, I ate a piece of cheese and drank many cups of coffee.  I didn’t see Santa arrive in a parade, but I watched lines jump on a monitor instead. I didn’t feel the warmth of family around me but felt cold, damp air seep under the glass.

Yet, the beauty of that Thanksgiving Day was I saw God clearly. How grateful I am for the blessing of life and love and to know that no matter where we are on this Thanksgiving Thursday, there will be God also.

If the Lord were conducting a poll, what would be the questions? Do we judge others? Are we influenced by power or kindness? Do we vote for goodness or evil? Are we grateful for our blessings? Is it better to be revengeful or forgiving?

Thank goodness God doesn’t need to conduct polls; He just reads our hearts. If we remember to be thankful for life and those who share it with us, we will all see God clearly, and He will lead us where we need to be.

Thanksgiving is a beautiful day, but to be thankful through all our days heals our souls and captures God’s heart.


Lynn Walker Gendusa is a Georgia author and columnist. Her latest book is “Southern Comfort: Stories of Family, Friendship, Fiery Trials, and Faith.” She can be reached at www.lynngendusa.com. For more of her inspirational stories, click here.

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