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In tough times, we can still be thankful

This last Tuesday night the community hosted a wonderful event. It was the Morris Ministerial Association’s annual community Thanksgiving service. I was there along with my oldest son to participate in the service by helping out with the music.

I have been to dozens of these services over the years and they draw a nice crowd. Naturally, the message is being thankful to God for what he has provided. In fact, the sermon this year was titled “Having an Attitude of Gratitude.”

As I sat between anthems and listened to the message I started thinking. Sometimes it can be especially hard to be grateful. Just think of the tragic tornado striking our communities and sometimes we ask why? Why me? How did this happen? Now what?

For me, when times are tough it really helps to look for God in nature. I like to slow down and see the natural things around us. It helps me to be thankful for everything that has been given to us. Even in the midst of tragedy, there is plenty to be thankful for.

As hard as it is, getting up each morning well before the sun even thinks about peaking over the horizon, I am thankful. If I didn’t fall out of bed so early I wouldn’t get to see the sunrise. There are few things that are as amazing as watching the world come to life during that transition from darkness to day. Our ancestors watched that same sun spring forth across that same horizon. It is amazing.

I am thankful for the crisp air that has gripped our land. Its icy hand shakes me awake and lets me know that, yes, I am alive. I am always thankful for the frosty morning that brushes everything with its icy perfection. Everything is a little more beautiful with a crisp covering of winter’s spice.

I am thankful for water. I think back to the past summer and all of the good times had on the lake. Every time out I would see friends and get to spend time with my family. The water binds us together with a common thread that lets each of know we are home.

I am thankful for each fish caught and released. With each hookset a smile crosses the faces of the anglers on the other end. It is impossible, and I mean impossible to not smile when watching someone catch a fish. How can we not be thankful for that?

I am thankful for the quiet moments that sitting in a tree can bring. Times of reflection and renewal are often achieved when alone with nature. It seems that we as humans can never quite feel as alive inside as we do when outside.

Each fall I am in awe at the absolute brilliance that covers the landscape. Good gosh, anyone that can’t be thankful for that kaleidoscope of color each year needs to slow down and really take it in. It helps us to know that this world is much larger than any one individual.  

As I think of the months yet to come, I know that I will be thankful for winter losing its grip upon us and spring coming forth. There is something about the flowers blooming and the trees bursting into full glory that lets life have yet another chance. As much as I hate to admit it, I am even thankful for that grass that will need to be cut.

I know that this Thanksgiving was hard for many. Especially for those that lost their homes to the storms that fateful November Sunday. 

I have talked to many and listened to even more and guess what? They each have been so thankful for the friends, neighbors and surrounding communities that have bound together and been of assistance.

It is not always easy to have an attitude of gratitude like was talked about at that Thanksgiving service. I need to try harder. I will try. One day at a time, one moment at a time I know that we are all thankful for the little things.  

I hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving and enjoyed your time with friends and family.

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