Beth Nicol here filling in for Fr. John who is taking a brief Thanksgiving break with plans to return to Mindwalk next week. During his small break, I offer the following reflection:
On Thanksgiving Day 2008 I opened my email to find a note from my husband’s youngest cousin. It was a blessing that I was unaware of what was going on until it was mostly over. She and her fiancé were staying on the 15th floor of the Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai when the terrorist attacks occurred. The email was to let family and friends know that they had been evacuated and were safe. So, I could relax a bit, even before I had a chance to worry.
The statement that sticks with me is “As my mom said, We have a lot to be thankful for.” Amen.
This news came on the heels of another friend losing her youngest cousin (a NY firefighter) in a house fire, and another friend’s great-nephew coming oh-so-close to going down in a plane crash. And so, it took a week or more to absorb all of this.
Remembering this puts me back to that spot that I visit so often: Bad news knocking at the door. Wars and rumors of war, fire, accidents, havoc all around. Hamas, Israel, Ukraine, storms, volcanoes and even earthquakes. And the same time, the joy of spending a few days with family, wishing a grandson “Happy [9th] Birthday!” and spending time meeting new cultures through travel. I am often immersed in giggles, glorious weather, good food and fellowship even I the bad news keeps knocking at the door.
It makes me thankful – not just for the good things, but for the knowledge that God loves me through it all. It makes me thankful to be able to accept with grace the words of Charles Dickens: “It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.” It even brings to mind words of one of my favorite hymns (How Can I Keep from Singing):
My life goes on in endless song
Above earth’s lamentation
I hear clear, yet far of sound
That hails a new creation
Through the tumult and the strife
I hear the Music ringing
If Love is Lord of Heaven and Earth
How can I keep from Singing?