"Give thanks in all circumstances,
for this is God's will for you..."
(1 Thessalonians 5:18)
Sunday's message was about giving thanks in all circumstances, and today I had the opportunity to put it into practice as I took the backroads shortcut home after Thanksgiving dinner at my daughter's.
Now I have only recently moved to this area, and not yet become familiar with alternate routes, so I was quite taken aback by a roadblock right about where I needed to turn onto my road. I could see flashing lights in the distance, and what looked like a fallen tree, but no clue as to how else I could get to where I was going. So with much trepidation and prayer, I managed to get my car safely turned around on this relatively narrow road with ditches on each side, and headed back towards where I had started. Then, not knowing what else to do, I decided to drive towards my old town and find my way home from there.
Well, shortly after I turned on to the highway, I saw a road to my right named after my new town, and decided that should be a good bet to follow. And it was, except it turned out to be an unpaved, deeply rutted road.
At first I was frustrated and upset by the waste of time and gas, and what damage these ruts might be doing to my car, but then I started feeling thankful that it was still light out and that I wasn't trying to find my way in the pitch dark. That, in turn, got me thinking about the admonition to be thankful in all circumstances, and how it is not telling us we should be thankful for the circumstance, but rather to find things to be thankful for while in it. So I did.
For starters, because of the ruts, I had to proceed very slowly, and had plenty of time to take in my surroundings. The setting sun was painting a beautiful sky, and the mountains looked so magnificent with their plush carpet of red, and orange, and yellow leaved trees, and I found myself wishing I could capture it in words that would bring it alive the way my talented blog friend Jane could have.
When I got home, another surprise awaited me. The town was dark. The fallen tree that caused the blockade had also caused a power outage. Somehow I managed to climb the stairs to my apartment and, after quite a bit of fumbling, get my key in the door lock. That was something to be thankful for. And after that, it got easier.
Once inside the apartment, I reached for the large flashlight on my kitchen counter and was immediately thankful that I had decided to keep it there. I was also thankful for candles, and for battery powered radios and tape players, and for warm socks and PJs on a chilly night. In fact, all sorts of things crossed my mind that I usually take for granted and forget to be thankful for.
It was nice to be able to sit back and relax without feeling guilty about neglecting the chores I had planned to take care of when I got home, and as I watched the candle flicker, I thought of days gone by. I thought of circumstances I lived through that I would never have wished for or chosen, and played a game of looking for what I could be thankful for in each one. A surprising number of things came to mind. In some cases, even a blessing down the road I never would have dreamed would come out of it.
Before I knew it, several hours had flown by, and my reverie was interrupted by the beeps of electrical devices turning themselves back on. So I'm thinking what better way to end this day, than to jot down my thoughts on thanksgiving in the dark.