In this season of Thanksgiving, I have a lot to be thankful for. However, this may not be a popular statement, but I also have some things that I’m sad about during this season. Hey, that’s a part of life. You know the ebbs and flows. As my pastor, Dr. Craig Oliver stated a few Sundays ago, life is about trouble, trust and then triumph. In other words when we go through trouble, we find ourselves trusting God through the process and he brings us through and then there is triumph. So that’s basically, what I mean that in this season of Thanksgiving I’m thankful but a bit sad. At the same time though, I triumph with what God has done in order for me to still enjoy this season of Thanksgiving.
One of the things that I enjoy about this season of giving is…GIVING! Giving all throughout the year is something that I love to do but giving during the holiday season is extra important to me. Let’s face it, anyone of us could find ourselves in a position where we don’t have food to eat during the holidays. Or we could find ourselves without having anyone to spend the holidays with. So, I like this time of year because I get the opportunity to put a smile on a person’s face despite what they may be going through during this holiday season.
Last Saturday, I participated in the Barrel of Love outreach at my church. This is when we turn the gymnasium into a grocery store with all the items that a family needs to have a nice Thanksgiving dinner. On Tuesday, I had the opportunity to hand out turkeys, potatoes, and canned goods to families for an organization in Cleveland, Ohio. This outreach took place outside in like 30-degree weather, but it was well worth it to provide families what they needed for a Thanksgiving meal. And today, my family and I will be delivering Thanksgiving meals to family’s door-to-door in the afternoon. We are doing this in partnership with my church in Cleveland, Ohio.
This is what Thanksgiving is all about for me. And I am truly thankful to be able to volunteer my time with all these organizations. Volunteering during this season allows me for even just a few hours to take the attention off myself and put it on others. You see, while I enjoy the holiday season there are parts of it that give me pause. Over the last few weeks, several families that I am connected to have lost loved ones. One through a tragic death and the other two due to illness. And one of the three deaths was a friend of mine who was only a few years older than me. The news of his death really took me for a loop. I didn’t realize how sick he was. Since he was first diagnosed, I was staying in contact with him. And I last communicated with him on Oct. 23 and when we spoke via text, he said he was feeling good, by the grace of God. Then on Nov.12 he passed. His death trigged my feelings of another friend of my mine who was like my brother – who passed on Christmas morning last year. He was a year younger than me. He too was sick, but I just had hopes that he was going to get better. Why am I bringing up the deaths of these two men? Well, they were both phenomenal men with characters that were out of this world. They both left a mark on the lives they touched. And they both touched many. All of that was made evident at both their funerals by the way family and friends spoke about each of them. The other reason I am bringing these two men up is because they were my friends…my brothers. And they both were instrumental in helping me to launch my first self-published book. One of them took my photo for the back cover of my book and the other one wrote the forward of my book. I find it interesting that these men both died almost one year apart. It dawned on me that not only did they die a year apart, but they both were an important part of making one of my goals come true. And now my first book is even more special to me because both men are gone, but they will forever live on with my book. They are etched in my book and in my hearts forever. I won’t ever be able to look at my book the same again. So, in this season of Thanksgiving, I am grateful that God allowed me to know these beautiful souls and I am glad that they will always be apart of my life. Happy Thanksgiving. What are you thankful for?