It's almost Thanksgiving. The fireplace inside crackles while the snow outside falls, painting an exceptionally-Alaskan scene as I write, also reminding me that this is also the time of year I receive correspondence from thoughtful people asking how a particular American hero, a man who gave up his youth to serve this great nation under four presidents, is doing. He's home this year, so I'll be sure to mention your regards to him as we gather around the Thanksgiving table.
He's not just an American hero; he's a personal one too, years-back rescuing me from the kind of desperation that widowhood painfully brands on its victims. It's been a tough road, thanks to a world at war. I've spent more Thanksgivings alone than not, staring at the picture taken at a castle in Scotland, representing the day God showed me he could turn "ashes" into beauty. He's really good at that, you know.
My hero, who is also my friend, fully understood my brokenness and accepted me just as I was. He proposed. I accepted, and from start to finish, he planned our wedding, including the flowers, cake, and a Scottish pastor who surprised us by bringing a group of his kindhearted congregants to fill the would-be empty chapel with the warmth and kindred spirit true Christianity provides.
All I had to do is accept his proposal and board a plane bound for a new life. I've never been the same. God offers each of us a similar "proposal" with a heavenly twist. He longs to exchange the ashes of our lives for something beautiful ... eternal — if we say "yes" to him. Our ashes for his beauty is not a fair exchange.
Even still, the "bridegroom" knocks and waits ...
"For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whoever believes in him will not perish but have eternal life," John 3:16 tells us.
So, Thursday is Thanksgiving and my heart overflows. I'm thankful, in no particular order, for a wide assortment of things. I'm thankful for strong coffee. And pizza. I'm thankful I live in the most wild and wonderful place on the planet and that the grizzlies on my mountain finally hibernated. I'm thankful the wolf which successfully evades every Kodak moment I attempt to shoot, remains afraid of me because I'd hate to have to shoot him with my gun.
I'm thankful for indoor plumbing that keeps me from using the outhouse. I am thankful my freezer is stocked with caribou and salmon, and that the mashed potatoes, currant jam, and apple-strawberry-rhubarb pie on our Thanksgiving table come from our garden.
I'm thankful for my rescue dogs, who in their own unique ways, have really rescued me. And for my wonderful family who loves me and dear friends who complete me. And I'm thankful, that sometimes at church, I can almost hear what sounds like my dad's voice, bombastically belting out a hymn's chorus during worship when I close my eyes.
I'm thankful for my faith and the freedom to practice it here in America. I'm thankful that our forefathers penned the U.S. Constitution so prudently, America hasn't buckled under the weight of this administration. And I'm thankful for the patriots among us who are willing to sacrifice their all in its defense. And I'm overwhelmingly thankful that one glance out my kitchen window reminds me that no matter how crazy this world gets, the One who created it remains in control.
And, I am so very thankful for you, my readers, for whether we agree or not, we can at least celebrate together our freedom of speech. And, of course it goes without saying, I am really, really thankful that the too-many-times empty seat at the Thanksgiving table will be warmed this year by the one who warms my heart.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.