I know most of you have big plans this Thursday for the annual get together and we will be doing the same with most of our group around.
We had a fun preview of family time this past week when my wife and oldest daughter Chrissy took a trip to Shreveport, the half-way point to Oklahoma City and a place we have occasionally met my son and his wife in the past.
Michael is the youngest of our four children and I know many of you have heard the story about him finding love on the Internet—well, his wife to be, that is.
They met online when he was a sophomore in high school, then when he finished his 13 years of being homeschooled he announced he would move to Oklahoma. The story got even more interesting a few months before going north when he told the family “and we will be getting married the day after I get there.”
Most people flip out when they hear that story, but it has a very good ending. The marriage was almost four years ago and they are doing wonderfully, not to mention bringing our grandson to Shreveport this past weekend to see us—their first child Henry.
It isn’t like he is still a baby, but with Mike and Lauren in Oklahoma we don’t get to see them too much. Henry is now nine months old and grandchild number seven for us so it was great to see them all.
It’s not a terribly long drive—about five-and-a-half hours from here—but we continually see a real problem on the ride from Baton Rouge to Lafayette that has made us return home through Jackson, Miss.
Have any of you noticed that the traffic backs up terribly coming from Lafayette up to the Mississippi River Bridge in Baton Rouge? It doesn’t seem to matter what day it is. From what I am guessing, the traffic seems to back up due to being forced to one-lane on the Baton Rouge side of the bridge and trying to head east. I have been caught in that traffic more times than I can think over the years and I finally quit coming back that way from Lafayette.
On the ride home we had a mini-Bible study and discussed some instruction in the Bible to be thankful for all things—even difficult things in your life, or a weakness in your character. It isn’t exactly the easiest thing to do when something bad happens in your life, but God actually wants you to thank Him for all things.
When I first mentioned that concept to my wife she didn’t exactly agree or like the idea of that, but it led to an interesting conversation that made me think about Thanksgiving this week.
I know many of you have heard of a tradition at Thanksgiving to start the mealtime by allowing everyone in the room to say what they are thankful for. Yes, it can get a little corny, but at least it’s an attempt to stop for a moment and thank God for the things you are thankful for.
It may sound surprising, but I think one of the toughest things to be thankful for is between a man and a woman who are married, or a couple who is in a committed relationship.
You might think, “Why is it difficult to be thankful for someone you love?”
But the truth is that relationships are hard. They bring stress, arguments and differences of opinions. The love you might have for an individual can get lost in the difficulties.
It made me think a little more about how imperfect we all are. It almost makes me wonder why we are surprised when things don’t go so well.
Chrissy said something quite profound, yet quite simple, as we discussed trying to accept each other through the character flaws we all have. She said she is doing her best to appreciate all the good qualities in her husband since he truly has many, although—shocker!—he doesn’t do everything perfectly right.
Every one of us can find things the other person does wrong, but it helps so much when we try to look at the positive rather than the negative.
So this Thanksgiving I decided to follow her advice and also do my best to mainly look at the good in the people I love. Sure, they can aggravate me. They get me upset with things they do. But guess what? I do the same thing to them.
If you go around the table at Thanksgiving and say what you are thankful for, give it a little extra thought and focus on something you haven’t really appreciated as much as you could. It’s amazing how much better you will feel towards your loved one.
And now that I think about it, that’s the way God looks at us too.
Kevin Chiri can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.