November is a month that holds at least three important dates in my life. I am sure there are others, you may even have some of your own. The first is November 17. That’s the day that my dad passed away at the ripe young age of 77, I am just five years shy of that age. The second is November 24. That’s the day that my mom passed away at the age of 82. I am just ten years shy of that age. Yes, I am in the winter of my life. My dad and mom passed away in different years but the same month and not may days apart from each other. The third date is different every year. It’s Thanksgiving. This year it is November 27, a day in which I choose to remember and give thanks, not the only day of such doings but an annual one.
I am thankful for a dad and mom who raised me and released me to the world to make my own way having been the best parents they knew how to be. My mom was not particularly happy about my choice to leave home at 18 years of age. I remember the day she and dad took me to the train station in Orlando, FL, to begin my four year stint in the Air Force at Lackland AFB in San Antonio, TX. It was a hot day in July. Sweat mingled with tears. It was bitter sweet, a recurring oxymoron in my life.
My dad was a kind and gentle man, quiet but persuasive. My mom was stubborn and somewhat whiney. Some days I am like my mom, other days I am like my dad. Some days I am a mixture. I am thankful for their guidance in my life.
I am thankful for my wife, Donna Faith, whom I may have never met if I had not joined the Air Force above the complaints of my mom. I was stationed in Lackland for basic training, Forbes AFB in Topeka, KS, Tachikawa Airfield in Japan, and Hickam Field in Honolulu. It was during this last duty station that I met Donna. We are gaining ground on being married for 50 years. She is a wonderful person, kind, patient, and a quiet thinker. I have enjoyed sharing my life with her all these years through all the ups and downs that life can throw at you.
I am thankful for my two children, Jason and Jeramie Joy. They bring continued joy into my life. Jason brings his easy going sense of humor and Jeramie Joy brings her drama queen complex personality. One never knows what a day will bring. But at the close of each day when I am ready to close my eyes, I give thanks for each of them.
I am thankful for the discovery that I didn’t have to be the person that my early life seemed to be destined for. Our life choices do have consequences. In Hawaii, I decided to attend the Bible school that was part of the ministry of the church I attended. My first Bible school teacher was Adele Carmichael. I am thankful that she instilled into me a life-long-love for learning Scripture, which to this day, though she is long gone, still remains. Adele passed away at the age of 101 on her way to teach a Bible class. Her one year of input focused me on a life journey of accumulating as much knowledge and experience for the four degrees that I have earned. All with the focus of helping folks be attached to God of Scripture.
I am thankful for John Wimber, who gave me an opportunity to minister in a way and place that gave me the tools to do what I love doing today in the publishing business.
There are lots of folks along my journey that all had a hand, a lot of them without knowing what they may have been contributing. I am thankful for them even though I may have forgotten their names and even the places where our lives crossed paths.
Finally, on this Thanksgiving day in 2014, I am thankful for the Creator of the Universe who has provided me a creation in which to live and move and have being. I am thankful for Jesus who turned my life around on a Wednesday evening in a small church in Florida accepting me as I was but not satisfied to allow me to stay the way I was. I am thankful for the Holy Spirit who empowers me to live a life he has set before me.
I am truly thankful!
May I conclude with the words of Jude at the conclusion of his small but powerful book:
To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy—to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.