If New Year’s is a time to regroup and look toward the upcoming year, then Thanksgiving is a time to gather and reflect on the year that has passed. In our family, it is a time when we thank the good Lord for both the heartaches and the blessings.
We thank Him for the grace that upheld us and saw us through the troubles and His beautiful goodness in the gifts and blessings He bestowed.
As I look back at this year, I can cheerfully declare it to have been one of the happiest, most blessed years of my existence. Yes, there were little aggravations and stresses here and there, but it was overwhelmingly good even despite the death of Tink’s precious mother. But that, too, was a blessing of sorts.
A woman of remarkable, steadfast faith, Miss Ruth had been longing — even pleading with God — to go home. She was tired and wearied and her body was failing her.
“Oh, just to be with my sweet Lord and Savior,” she said repeatedly.
She called us one morning and Tink, my husband, put her on speaker phone in the car. Brightly and happily, she sang out, “I just called to say goodbye, dear.”
“Goodbye?” Tink asked quizzically. She rarely left home. “Where are you going?”
“Well, today I’m going to heaven! I just wanted to call and tell you goodbye, my dear.”
“OK,” Tink replied in a comical tone. “Have a good trip.”
Miss Ruth had not lost her mind. She had all her mental facilities, but she was a woman so steeled in faith that she really believed that she could will her way, through faith, to heaven at a time of her choosing.
Tink called her that evening and when she answered, he said, “Well, I see you didn’t go to heaven today.”
“Maybe tomorrow!” she intoned enthusiastically.
So, when the angels came to gather her up, through our sadness we saw the blessing. She was where she had spent her life trying to get. Her “tomorrow” had finally arrived.
It’s been a happy year, personally and professionally, filled with blessings both simple and complex. The unusually rainy year filled our streams and small river while grass grew abundantly for the horses, and my dog, Dixie Dew, lost a pound of dachshund.
Tink spent most of the year working from home and not in Los Angeles. I liked that a lot. My only novel was filmed for a television movie that will broadcast in January. I had a cameo in the movie and Tink’s childhood crush, Valerie Harper, co-stars. Our time spent with her and her husband, Tony, has turned into a precious friendship. I adore that remarkable woman.
Unexpectedly, I got an offer to open for the wonderful comedian, Bill Engvall, at a show in Canada. When I got that call, I was so blown away by God’s remarkable graciousness to me that I fell to my face on the kitchen floor and just thanked Him over and over.
Daddy used to say, “Thank God for the hard times because they make the good times so much sweeter.”
For I remember other Thanksgivings when death and tribulations had rained down with hurricane-like force and wearied me to the point that I could barely put one foot in front of the other. I begged for a break from all the tearful challenges.
“There’s a better day a-comin’,” Mama said always during those times. “You can count on that.”
She was right. Life is a cycle of good days, bad days and better days.
So, whether this has been a year that leaned more toward blessings or tribulations, give thanks for it. Because even the hard times are leading to better times and when you get to those better days, you’ll celebrate them with pure joy.
Maybe you’ll even fall to your knees on the kitchen floor like I did.
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