Wednesday, November 21, 2007

MY REAL LESSON ABOUT GRATITUDE AND THANKSGIVING!!


Our home is located near a church which has one of those message signs you can see from the road...not a fancy sign mind you, but the kind you put up word-by-word and letter-by-letter!
I glanced at that sign yesterday and saw it with new eyes!

Granted, I have been quite sick for the past week (and that is relative to what REALLY sick looks like), so perhaps I missed it as I drove by. Another possibility is that I read it and somehow just missed the enormity of the message. In any case, this time I stopped, read it, and re-read it as tears flowed down my cheeks.

The sign said this:
God, thank You for everything.

Sound simple? Just an average message? Not in my book.

While I consider myself to live a life of gratitude, there is no way I can even begin to calculate the enormity of the blessings I have...and I have those blessings every day. Am I truly grateful for them all, not even close. Do I thank God every day for the roof over my head, the food I have to eat, my wonderful husband and fabulous family, the 2 fabulous jobs I love, for all of the people who bless my life, for the smiles that come my way, for every student who graces my classroom?...or am I more caught up in the mundane "Here's What I Have To Do To Make It Happen Today!" mentality?

If I'm honest, there's no contest. I take for granted so many of life's blessings and forget to thank my Creator for making me and blessing my life.

And if I forget to thank Him for the multitude of blessings, I certainly miss out on thanking Him for the trials, disappointments, frustrations, and hard spots.

There is no way I can even begin to calculate the important gifts and life lessons I've received through the very difficult parts of my life. Each one is a gift, but I often forget to say thank you for those too.

I learned a HUGE life lesson this week about the REAL meaning of Thanksgiving and that lesson will stay with me for the rest of my life.

One of my very special students moved to Spokane to start a new life. He is someone who walks into my class and with a HUGE smile greets everyone. His smile lights up our room. He is someone who is honest, smart, authentic, and such a HARD WORKER. He even does all of his homework (yes, any one reading this who is a teacher will smile at that one) :) Every assignment is done with careful penmanship.

He LOVES school and feels so grateful to get to go. School, and having a new start in life, means everything to him. As he leaves class every day, he turns and says..."God Bless You!" to all of us.

My tears are falling as I write this...because this week I discovered, quite by chance, that he is homeless. He lives in his car, showers at our gym, and hadn't eaten since last Friday. That's right, LAST Friday! I found out all of this yesterday...Monday...and he hadn't eaten since last Friday.

I cannot bear that this lovely young man does not have a home. Needless to say, Bert and I went into high gear to set this straight, to get him help, to tell him he was MY student and I would NOT allow this to happen to him. Not on my watch!

But the point of this story is simple...while he was homeless, living out of his car, and not eating since Friday...he was grateful for EVERYTHING!

When I talked to him he said, "God's with me right there in that car so I am never alone!"
Tears streamed down his face as I got him breakfast. He kept saying. "You're so kind. There are others who need this more than I do."

Where oh where has MY gratitude REALLY been?

So as Thanksgiving approaches...this wonderful, young, African American man, who showers at the gym at SCC and lives in a car, is my angel. He has taught me in a way that nothing else can...God, thank you for EVERYTHING!

I am blessed beyond measure and he is one of my blessings! So are you!

Love and HUGS to all who read this! God Bless! Happy Thanksgiving!
Love Linda

4 comments:

The Farrell Family said...

I've been working on this too... remembering to thank God for everything in my life, for it is a gift from Him. I'm always shouting thanks for my hubby and children but often forget the little things... like each breath so that I may live to enjoy my family. It is all a gift.


Thanks for the reminder.

I AM THANKFUL FOR YOU!

LORIE said...

From someone who is still figuring out GOD. . . thank you for your post. Gratitude to you and yours.

jessithompson said...

I have tears welling in my eyes. Thank you for this post. A great reminder today, and everyday.

I love you and am grateful for you and our relationship.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Kayla Jode said...

I love Thanksgiving! A time to thank God for EVERYTHING that he has done for us! It's so sad that the student you have at SCC is homeless, hungry and even showers at SCC. But I bet that this is only the first step of God's plan for this young man! I'll be praying for him just like I do every one else in my life! I love you all tons!

Love,
Kayla

A Reminder of What Matters...

                   "We are all just walking                       each other home."                                             ...