Today is Thanksgiving Eve, which means tomorrow is the one day of the year set aside for us to count our blessings. I think it's great for there to be a day targeted specifically to being thankful. But I try to count my blessings every day. I have bad days just like everyone else; after all, we live in a fallen world. I find, however, that those bad days can seem a whole lot better when I take a look at all the wonderful things God has already done in my life.
The older I get, the more I realize how important it is to be grateful. Life can change in an instant, as I had occasion to truly understand today. In our staff meeting, we were told that one of our employees lost everything he and his family had in a house fire last night. Everything. Gone. Up in smoke, in a single night. We will do everything we can for him and for his wife and daughter, but can you imagine what it must be like to endure that kind of loss, especially during the holidays? No one was physically injured, thank heavens, but they were all hurt emotionally and financially. Things will be different for them from this point forward.
Things are also much different for this man.
But he has a right, from a human standpoint, to be bitter and depressed. You see, Mickey Gilley is a tremendous musician... I mean, a LEGENDARY singer, songwriter and piano player. He's been performing since I can remember, and now has a theater up in Branson. But he had an accident in 2009 that left him temporarily paralyzed from the neck down. He has undergone months of physical therapy, and has miraculously resumed performing. But his hand is still partially paralized, so he is unable to play the piano. This is why that's such a tragedy, and why it hurt my heart to find that out.
It also made me think really hard about what it would be like for me to wake up tomorrow and not be able to sing. I haven't made a living singing in a long time, but I still get a lot of joy from being able to use my voice. I am extremely grateful for the gift God gave me, and more than ever I realize how important it is for me to use it as much as I can, and in a way that honors Him, because I might not always have the opportunity to do so.
Oftentimes, we take things for granted. We automatically think we will wake up tomorrow and everything will be the way we expect it to be. Our friends and family members will be there tomorrow; our house will still be standing; we will still be able to walk, talk, sing or play the piano. We will still have a chance tomorrow to make a difference, tell a certain person we love them, or that we're sorry, or to make a commitment to Christ. We waste time assuming we have more time, and we are ungrateful for the things and people we have in our lives today.
So instead of taking this one holiday to be thankful, perhaps we should be grateful every day. And maybe we should use this one day - Thanksgiving - to make a list of things and people that we have taken for granted in the past, to remind us not to take them for granted in the future.
Just a thought.
I wish all of you a wonderful Thanksgiving.