One of the most potent criticisms Christians in America often face is how out-of-touch they can be when it comes to living in the here and now. Being fully aware and alive in the present moment can elude a lot of religious folks who cling to mere eschatological hope – that is, trust in an eternal life after our physical death. As a Christian, I uphold the belief that at the end of all things physical, I will be ushered into the limitless presence of Almighty God. However, unlike some, I do not focus on this to the exclusion of my life in this world.
Again and again, the Scriptures encourage followers of God to be thankful – to recognize and take account of our blessings. These are not simply the things we have gained or acquired for ourselves, but also the very things that compose the environments in which we find ourselves, the knits and ties in the fabric of our lives.
“Finally, brothers and sisters,” writes the Apostle Paul in his letter to the church in Philippi, “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—take account of such things.”
Lately, I’ve been taking account of the things I don’t have (job, house, money, insurance, security, stability, a Red Rider BB gun, etc.). For my soul’s sake, and in keeping with the tradition of our present holiday, I’m going to attempt the opposite. Before I sat down to write this, I settled on the number 25. I believe it is a reasonable number, as long as I commit to specifics and not hide behind vagueness and generalizations. So, here goes:
I am thankful for…
1. … Leigh’s astonishing amount of perseverance. In spite of so many stress-inducing unknowns, my wife continues to show her mettle as a mommy and as a mommy-to-be.
2. … Katy Jo’s voice. I’ve never heard such a sweet sound in all my life (except when she’s screeching in her car seat).
3. … H.E.B. grocery stores and my parents’ gracious willingness to buy most of our food.
4. … Daniel Tebbe’s smoked turkey recipe (if I can get it right).
5. … a turkey (kinda goes along with #3).
6. … milder weather. It took a long time, but central Texas finally cooled off.
7. … my laptop. Every morning, I wake up early, pour a cup of coffee, pull out my computer and set to work on a piece of writing. Strange how soothing the digital bong of a MacBook can be.
8. … Whataburger. I’ll be honest, it’s not my favorite place in the world, but it does provide a little part-time money.
9. … Chick Fil A. It’s the place I most enjoy spending the money I earn at Whataburger.
10. … a healthy foot. Aside from an ugly scar, I’m all healed up after almost ten months of problems, two surgeries and a 17-day stint in a German hospital.
11. … Community, Parks and Recreation, and South Park. I don’t have much cause for laughing these days, but these three still get me going. (If NBC cancels Community, I may finally lose what is left of my mind.)
12. … how warm Leigh is. Personality, sure, but I’m actually talking about her physical warmth – she’s like a little Amish fireplace.
13. … that Katy Jo also adores #9.
14. … coffee and Bailey’s creamer to go with #7.
15. … my friends Stevie and Jenny, who continue to take care of us even in our no-job funk. So what if J. Edgar was kind of depressing? I still had a blast the other night.
16. … Goodwill stores that sell books other than the Twilight series and Stieg Larsson’s Girl trilogy. I’ve found some great deals since returning home from the land where English books were hard to come by.
17. … Robert Griffin III, Kendall Wright and Terrance Ganaway.
18. … The Walking Dead. Hands down, the best show currently on TV. On a broader note, and at the risk of sounding like a television junkie, I’m thankful for every original series on the AMC network.
19. … competitive cooking shows. I don’t know why these are so engrossing given their absurdity, but they are.
20. … white-tail deer. They are all over the place out where my parents live, and despite being well acquainted with their presence throughout my childhood and adolescence, they never cease to amaze me with their graceful speed and lightness.
21. … Leigh’s head-rubs. No massage parlor in the world can hold a candle to her skill.
22. … my mother’s servant heart. She is forever attempting to care for us and keep our spirits up.
23. … the way Katy Jo eats spaghetti. Comedy gold.
24. … Leigh’s indomitable beauty, inside and out.
25. … Dr Pepper Ten.
How’s that for randomness?