Last night was the annual Thanksgiving dinner at our church.  We get together and eat and talk and sing.  We sing a lot.  My voice gets about to the point of calling it a night before we call it a night.

It was a great time.  I met some nice new friends and hung out with some old ones.

The pastor, toward the end of the celebration, asked us to write down seven things that we are thankful for and really spend some time before God being grateful.  I thought that was a great idea and started thinking about my seven things.

But before I could reach for the ink pen and begin to right, something told me to think about the things I am NOT thankful for.

First of all came the things that were bugging me right at that moment.  I don’t hear so well, I don’t see so clear, my back was hurting.  It was the usual laundry list that accompanies someone that has lived hard and made it to just one year shy of sixty.  I am not thankful for the pain, the decay or the inevitable reminders that I ain’t what I used to be.

Then came situations and circumstances I don’t appreciate and see no point to and I can freely say, I am not thankful.

Next I rambled down the road that still has a few regrets lurking around the corners, I stepped in the potholes of misfortune, stumbled over missed opportunities and was nearly splattered by a truck careening recklessly down the wrong side of the road filled with my mistakes.

That was a whole truck load of ingratitude.

I like to tell myself how much more grateful of a man I am now than the one that once occupied this body and it is true.  But, when I look deeper below this thin veil of gratitude, I can see a lot of just the opposite lying beneath the surface.

I Thessalonians 5:16 Always be joyful. 17 Never stop praying. 18 Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

There is a huge part of life that I have bundled up in the “Exceptions to Thankfulness” truck.  As long as those things remain there, they will be flying wildly at critical mass through my past, wrecking memories, destroying hope in the future and replacing confidence with regret.  I’ll never be able to enjoy fully the life God has given me, through every single thing that has happened in my life, good or bad, as long as it resides in a possessed semi ravaging the highways and roads of my past.

The fact is, a lot of my past sucked.  A lot of it was horrible.  A lot of it was totally annihilated by my own actions.  A lot of it was painful.  A lot of it hurt others deeply and they did not deserve to be a part of it.

But I must still be thankful.  Without it all, I am not who I am.  I an denying myself to be what God has brought me to be, where God has brought me to be.

The somewhat more grateful man that I am so much more pleased to be these days could not have been without the things I am not thankful for.

Anyone can be thankful for the great things.  Who wouldn’t be thankful for a brand new fly rod?  Well, maybe a lot of people but, if I get the desires of my heart and the needs of life, it is simple to give thanks.  It doesn’t take God to crank it up a notch on that kind of gratefulness.

But God has gone with me through all of my life.  The good and bad, the times I refused to allow him to be there (I am not man enough to push him away), the days his presence seemed so far off, the days I cursed him.

He used it all, every detail, every minute, every pain, every joy, every single thought that raced through my crazy head, to make me who I am.

Today, I want to do more than be grateful for the good stuff.  I want to thank God for it all, the whole big convoluted mess that he turns from chaos into a masterpiece crafted by his hand.

Thank you for all of it, God.

Thank you.


6 thoughts on “What I Am Not Thankful For

  1. Mike, it’s easy to get caught up in unthankfulness. Sometimes things just suck. I don’t know if you have been over to my place lately, but I have been sort of chronicling events of late in our lives around here. Almost nothing that has happened to us in the last month or so has been, “good,” as one might say. Yet, as things have unfolded, we have already begun to see possible reasons behind some of the events, and become thankful for them. Even when we don’t, we are striving hard to be thankful in advance for the blessing we know God will work from the problem. I am not saying we always succeed, but we are doing okay. God is with us in the trials. If anybody has left, it is us, not Him.

    Liked by 1 person

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