Thanksgiving is one of my favorite times of the year because it’s a time that we slow down and reflect on the things for which we are truly thankful. It’s been said that “you don’t have to look very far to see how good you have it”. Sure, there are areas of our lives that could always be better. But if we’re honest with ourselves, we have it better than most. In fact, all I have to do is walk fifty feet out my front door to see just how blessed I am.
Every day that I walk down my driveway to get the mail I’m reminded that it could always be worse. A quick glance down the street reveals the struggles in life that have caused my neighbors to know God in a way that, thankfully, I don’t.
If I look to my right I see a mailbox of a single mom trying to raise five children the best way she knows how. She has to be at work before the kids can get on the bus and sometimes she works six days a week. I can look to my left and there’s a mailbox to a home of an elderly couple who have endured more surgeries and procedures than I have fingers. Directly across the street and one house to the right is a mailbox to a home where a three year old son is battling an illness that could take his life. There is another mailbox to my left where a man is on disability because of a mental disorder. His wife and kids struggle each day to cope. Their “normal” is a normal that many of us will never have to endure. Unless God works a miracle they will never know him the way my wife and kids know me.
Farther down the street is a mailbox at the home of a girl that goes to school with one of my daughters. She has been in the hospital more times in the last two years than many of us will be in our lifetime. So far, the doctors have not been able to find a cure for her illness. Other mailboxes are full of newspapers and mail because the houses, once full of laughter and dreams, now stand empty due to foreclosure or divorce.
Sometimes we get wrapped up in what’s happening within our own checkbook or at our own address. There’s nothing wrong with that. It stands to reason that the things closest to us will concern us the most, but God has called us to more than that. Colossians 4:2 says “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” I’m convinced that one of the reasons we have eyes and ears, is so we can see and hear what’s happening around us and respond by making a difference through prayer. The last part of that verse reminds me to be thankful because no matter what I’m facing or going through, it could always be worse. As I look at the mailboxes in my subdivision I’m thankful that I haven’t had to go through what others have had to go through and endure what others have had to endure. I’m thankful that I haven’t had to be a part of the things that others have had to be a part of and make decisions that others have to make. I’m thankful that I haven’t had to fight the battles so many others are fighting that our “good days” as a family are just that – good days.
How about you….?