Sunday, November 24, 2013

some thoughts on the giving of thanks



well my dear ones,



With the holiday of Thanksgiving approaching,

I’ve been giving some thought lately

to the reasons for the giving of thanks.


As someone who came within a couple of months

of suffering permanent nerve damage,

I give thanks to God for the simple things,

such as being able to

put on foot in front of the other.

That’s something I used to take for granted

...but not anymore.


In fact, I find myself giving thanks

for the things that haven’t happened to me

as much as I do for the blessings that have.

For example, whenever I see a homeless person

(sadly seen all too often these days),

my heart is moved to compassion for them

as I think that,

“there, but for the grace of God, go I.”

(etymology here:


Last week, my wife and I saw a homeless couple

at the intersection in the parking lot

near where people leave the drive through

at our local bank.


It’s a popular spot for the homeless,

the jobless, or those who just find

themselves short of gas money to get home;

I guess they figure people will

be more generous when they just stocked up

on their own money

and then immediately come in contact

with those who have none.


It worked out well for that couple we saw,

however, all we gave them was some money.

While they were very appreciative,

and I’m sure they were on the up and up,

I know some people aren’t comfortable

with giving cash to strangers

because they’re not sure if they

are scammers, or if they are

going to use the money for

drugs of alcohol instead of food.

(Personally, I’d say give anyway.

 If they are being dishonest,

 that’s not our issue;

 that’s between them and God;

 we can feel right that we did right

 even if the people for whom we did it

 are not righteous...just my opinion =>)


Anyway, on the way home,

my wife told me of a cool thing

that she heard about to answer

those concerns.

A woman she knew took one-gallon

zip-lock bags and filled them

with toiletries: soap, toothbrush, etc.


Then she would keep the bags in her car

and, when she came upon the needy,

she had something useful to give.


I did a little research online.

I found out homeless people can

also use little backpacks,

since they have to carry all their stuff.

And they also don’t want space blankets

(I was about to buy some),

because they are too flashy,

and they need to be more low-key.

They carry cardboard as an insulator

for when they sleep,

but would be better served by a yoga mat.


Armed with this new knowledge,

I went to the Dollar Store

and got a bunch of personal hygiene stuff

plus a little backpack to keep it in.

My wife and I dug out some old coats

(in good shape and washed and clean)

and I found my old Harley picnic roll

that came with my bike

and makes a great 6’ by 6’ ground cover.


I put all this stuff in the back of my car

and I hoped we’d see that homeless couple

but when we went back that next night

they weren’t there.

At first I was disappointed,

but then I realized that’s a bad attitude;

I should feel happy that they

most likely got the help they needed

and moved on.


A few days ago,

I had to pick up some new contact lens,

so I took a different route home

and that brought me within close to

the intersection where we’d seen

the homeless couple.


I saw people there, so I went over.

It wasn’t the homeless couple, though;

it was a family, Mom, Dad, and 3 kids,

who were homeless due to Dad losing his job.

I gave them the pack, the bedroll,

and the coats, and a little money;

they were so happy and appreciative!

(many others also stopped and gave them

 some money, especially since the kids

 were young, like 10 through 12)


So, the stuff I thought should go

to the homeless couple

wound up going to the family

that needed it even more.

I don’t believe in coincidence;

it looks more like Divine Providence.


I can’t even imagine how hard

it must be to be homeless,

and I think it could happen to anyone;

a spouse gets sick,

medical bills spiral,

home gets foreclosed,, you’re homeless.


So, while we’re giving thanks this week

we can also give thanks that

we are not in that situation;

if you are reading this, you are rich.


While you may not feel rich,

you are seeing this as a blog, or email,

so you are sitting at a computer;

hence, you are likely not one

of the three billion people in the world

living on less than $2.50 (USD) per day

(by the way 80 percent of the world gets by

 on less than $10 USD per day).


In my book, that makes us rich,

and I am thankful for that blessing.

The Bible is pretty clear on this,

that if we are blessed

it’s so we can be a blessing to others.


So whether we pack up a gallon bag

to hand out to a homeless person,

donate to a local food bank,

help serve meals at a shelter,

or give a hug to someone who needs it,

I pray we all find some way to give thanks

this Thanksgiving by helping

“the least of these.”


We can put a smile on God’s face

and lift up our own hearts at the same time.


Have a great Thanksgiving! =)


grace, peace, and love to you,