Until recently, our daughter, Michelle, and her family lived in Roswell, New Mexico. To get to Roswell we could take any number of roads, highways, and interstate freeways. To break up the monotony of driving 1005 miles each way we would use a couple of different routes that ultimately got us to our destination. Some of the routes added extra miles but got us there faster while others included better traveled roads which we would take when the weather was bad, but they added time to the drive. Regardless of which route we took it was nice to know that we had options.
When driving long distances there is always the opportunity for delving into deep subjects that would be impossible to discuss if the car was loaded with children. One of the topics that Cheryl and I enjoy delving into on these long drives is how blessed our lives have been. When the path is smooth sailing we often forget to be grateful for things moving along at a nice, relaxed pace. Recent events have given us a renewed appreciation for the blessed path we are walking.
Several months ago, we learned that one of our nephews had been diagnosed with cancer. This little guy is as loving and kind as any little boy could be so we couldn’t help but think about how unjust it was that he had been handed a more difficult path. It wasn’t his doing that he got cancer but just or not, it has become his burden to bear. Not long after learning about our nephew’s illness we found out that Mike, a dear friend living in South Dakota also had a tumor and would be fighting cancer. Last night we also learned that Mike and his wife had contracted COVID-19 sending Mike to the emergency room to receive treatment so he could breathe.
Evaluating our own situation, then comparing it with someone else’s situation might seem to be judgmental or harsh, but it doesn’t need to be that way. I find that when I can compare the relative ease that my life has experienced with someone less fortunate, it helps me place the proper gratitude about my life and my current situation.
One of the pet peeves I have deals with the way we use the word “lucky” for a situation when things went our way. My preference is to use the word “blessed” rather than “lucky”. To do anything else would take God’s hand out of the event and place it squarely in our hands as though anything we did on our own changed the situation.
There is a story about a religious man replacing the roof on his barn. Nearing the end of the job he loses his grip and begins to slide. Knowing the fall from that height would seriously injure him he begins to pray. Then, just as he is about to go off the edge of the roof his britches catch on a nail, stopping his fall. Seeing that he is now out of danger he finishes his prayer saying, “never mind Lord, I don’t need your help after all”.
Maybe the nail catching on his britches was simple luck but I certainly wouldn’t want to face the Lord on my judgement day only to find out that all the times I felt lucky it was the Lord intervening that saved my skin. Feeling blessed for something wonderful happening verses feeling lucky might just be semantics but given the opportunity to acknowledge God’s influence in my life seems to be a better path forward.
In two days many of you reading this column will be sitting down with friends and family to share a Thanksgiving feast. I might suggest that you take a few minutes during that meal to evaluate all the blessings you are thankful for. It is a fantastic opportunity to vocalize what you may already feel in your heart. Let your loved ones know that you are blessed, as are they, and make a tradition of counting your blessings. #give thanks