Incomprehensible thanks

My heart is full.  So thank you.

Those of you who serve our country, thank you.

If you have served and gone to school on the G. I. Bill, then you join generations building an incomprehensibly astonishing country, complete with shortcomings the whole world can see.  Please continue building.

If you returned broken, marred, missing parts of body or soul, then you join a long line bleeding in blues, khaki, and camo: striving to rebuild bodies, minds and lives in countless re-enactments of America’s miracle.  Please don’t give up rebuilding.

If you’re eating turkey, or an MRE, or you’re quietly hungry again tonight, then fall in.  Queues of hungry men and women reach back to Valley Forge’s freezer, doing the impossible in Inchon or sweltering in malarial silence.  Please don’t shirk attempting the impossible with your wearied best.

And if you’re quiet in flag-draped box, ferried home by those who cannot flinch at your final high cost paid.  Come take a place with the mighty and abased, heroes with names on small white crosses and stars in quiet, landscaped hills.  Hallowed by you ransoming my dream.

No less so, Christ lovers, who were not surprised when those fearing your faith ushered you horrifically into eternity.  You, did John certainly see in his Revelation, crying to God at justice delayed to the last chance for those martyring you to come to His grace.

Incomprehensible. Price.  Possibility.

If you served my country or Lord, thank you.  May my courage in these dearly bought days, address my debt to you at a Banquet to which we’ve been invited on death’s other shore.

Thank you

Jill and I watched Band of Brothers last week.  Two a night.

It is one thing to think, “I have many, many people to thank so I could rest at ease today with my family.”  It is another thing to see their story told by Ambrose, Speilberg, and Hanks so poignantly — and then see the old men speak before each installment, who lived, fought and endured so much in battle, and in so many nightmares since.

Thank you.

To my wounded friends, who served in a war you may or may not have agreed with in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Your wounds, visible and not, make getting out of bed every morning a matter of courage.

Thank you.

To  you who minister, fight hunger and hopelessness for kids and people we feel hopeful for on Thanksgiving — and forget on Black Friday.

Thank you.

For you sweating the launch of your little business.  Your faith is stunning.  If people buy, you eat.  If not, you worry.

Thank you.

To you first responders who spend some time bored and the rest on the abyss of terror.  The EMTs, docs, and nurses as well who reach the end of technology and bite your lips in hope on any given night in the ER.

Thank you.

I can go on like this for a while.  And I should.  And so should you.

Thank you is not an emotion.  It is something we invent a way to say to people who don’t do it for the praise, but will fight back tears on the day we demonstrate ours.

Many heroes need one of us to say, “Thank you, hero.”

Hebrews’ writer said: Invent ways to encourage one another to good works.  You know what is so cool about the book of Hebrews in the bible?  The writer is faceless, nameless, the object of much conjecture: just like the people I have to invent ways to thank.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Thanksliving

I know.  It is borrowed.  Like the ground where my home sits, the air I breathe, and the wife I love: all lent to me for a time.

That may help in thank yous and thanksliving with which I am struggling today.  This may be the only “I am struggling with thanksgiving” blog of the day, but I still must800px-Fall_Leaves write it.

You know the aggravations: a letter from the IRS, your phone is shattered, now you can’t finish the building project in time for someone to use it – again, and your body is betraying you in new ways. Beautiful leaves that must be raked. . . .  Whine.  Complain, and so on.

Entitled.  I don’t like it when I sense it in others, and like any adolescent; I can’t smell it seeping out of my own skin, covering my eyes, nullifying my touch, pervading my thoughts.

I act as if any of it really belongs to me.  Studies on empowerment show ugly things about us, and the attitude comes quickly with very little at stake.

But, all is on loan.  All will be “turned back in” in, well, a shorter time than I probably think.  Even with my beloved, our vows we spoke said, ” ‘Til death us do part.”

King David said, “Like a servant looks to the hand of his Master, so I look to the ‘Giver of all Good Gifts’.”  David, a king, was smart to know he owned much the same as his servants.  Nothing.  He was steward of an entire country, though.  That heavy weight made him profoundly “response-able”.

Thanking Someone for what has been loaned makes more sense than thanking yourself once a year for what you think is yours ‘by right’.  If it were yours, couldn’t you hold on to it one second after death?

So, my question today is, “Does my thanksliving attitude make me more response-able?”  And, “Does my response-able preparedness make me more creative and innovative?”

Like a clueless man, staring at the hand of the Giver of All Good Gifts I alternately cringe and grow expectant.  I suspect David’s translation is smarter.

So, I’m grateful for my next breath, dinner tomorrow with the family, wind, leaves I am able to rake, and you.  For the time we’ve been loaned.