Thursday, December 10, 2009

Being Thankful In All Things

Yeah, I know. Thanksgiving is over and Christmas is approaching faster than the speed of thought. But I've been thinkin' and decided to put some of my profound thinkin' on my blog.

Life has really been rough in the last several months. Worse than most people would realize. In addition to the unemployment, depression, and some other issues, I've had this niggling thought floating in the back of my head. Could I possibly be having a mid-life crisis on top of it all? I started researching it, and glory be, it looks like I most likely am. And I didn't think anything good ever happened to me!

The Bible says in everything give thanks. Sometimes that's easy. And sometimes you wonder if God really meant that. So you toss the King James Bible aside and pull out the New King James. Shucks! Says it in that too! OK, maybe the New International Version skips that. Nope. Still in there. Man! What's the sense in having different translations of the Bible if you can't find one to say what you want it to say?!

Seriously, it isn't always easy to be thankful. Oh, we tell ourselves others have it worse, and that is true. But it's still tough to truly be thankful.

I will never forget January 21, 1981. I was pulled out of my classroom at my school in New Bethlehem, PA by the principal - thought I was in trouble again - and then they pulled my sister Vicki out - I remember thinking "what did she do?!" The principal informed us that our house had burned to the ground. Everything was gone. (What a time for my parents to have just dropped their renter's insurance! - for real)

I was just a few months short of my 12th birthday, but I was old enough as we gathered around the ruins of everything we owned to be thankful - thankful that no one had been home. Sure, we lost every possession we had, but all five of us were standing there alive. Scratch that - all seven - the cats made it too.

In the Hiding Place, Cory Ten Boon tells of the horrors that her family went through, all because they helped the Jews. At one point, they were in prison where the fleas were terrible in the area they were imprisoned. On top of everything else they were going through, it just added insult to injury. When Cory's sister, Betsy suggested they thank God for the fleas, Cory was incredulous, but went along with her on it. They later found out that due to the fleas, the guards left them unmolested.

I admit most of the time I feel like Anne of Green Gables - that I'm in the "depths of despair." Not so funny when you really feel you are, yet a part of me knows there are things to be thankful for, even when everything seems to be going wrong in my life.

1) I have a roof over my head. My parents haven't thrown me out on the street. Yet.

2) I have turned frugal. I admit it, a lot of my financial issues in the past have been due to buying what I wanted, when I wanted it. When you have no job and still have bills and no income, you realize there are a lot of things you do not need.

I'm not saying this to complain, but I can't run to the bookstore and buy a book or CD that I want, or go eat out at a restaurant. But I have come to realize that this can be a good thing, and I really am thankful for learning this lesson. Will it really change me when I do have a job and money again? I really believe that it has.

3) I had an unexpected blessing. I was given $100 to go Christmas shopping with, and let me tell you, it is amazing how much you can buy with $100 when you are trying to stretch it. I'm actually proud of myself for the stack of gifts I got. Admittedly, I have won a lot of books and was able to use a few of those for gifts, but Christmas is all about giving, and I will be able to give - so I am thankful.

4) Book reviewing. Two of my friends, Judy & Steven have my undying thanks for nudging me to check into reviewing books. I have some friends who complain that my blog is too much book reviewing, and not enough "just blogging" - and here I thought no one wanted to know what I think!

But for someone who loves to read - and just plain loves books - as much as I do, to get free books to read, and all I have to do is post reviews - it's totally awesome! Something to be thankful for! Sure, I can't review every book that I want, but that also made it possible for me to have a "wish list" to give out for Christmas. And believe it or not, I have had a couple places email me out of the blue and ask me to review for them. The only thing that could be better is to get paid, but hey, I love it anyway.

5) Friends. There are a few people in my life who know the worst about me. They know where the bodies are buried. (Ok just to be safe, that is just an expression - I have never killed anyone - don't be calling the police on me now). We all need people like that. I've also made a few new friends via the internet.

If I think more, I'm sure I could find more to be thankful for, but I am waxing on too long, so I will leave it go at these five.

In everything, give thanks. Indeed.

A post script here: I just did a spell check, and other than my "thinkin'", which I did on purpose, there were no spelling errors. It's a miracle!