G. K. Chesterton once said, “The worst moment for an atheist is when he is really thankful and has no one to thank.”
Well, I am not an atheist. I have Someone to thank. But as I’ve gown older, my gratitude list has become a little unexpected. My gratitude spans over many years, towns, jobs, and circumstances, but only one wife. And I’m thankful for that as well. One wife. I don’t know how the “multiple wife” thing would ever really work, and I don’t know any Fundamentalist Mormons to ask.
I’m thankful for the unexpected rescues that I’ve experienced, like the old lady in our church who had the stealth and courtesy to let me know my fly was unzipped before I got up to pray in front of the whole church on Easter Sunday last year. That’s called mercy.
And I’m thankful for the fireman who came to our house so quickly after our two-year-old got stuck inside the leg lifter of our recliner several years ago. Don’t ask me how he did that. There are certain things toddlers never reveal. I thought they were going to have to come in with the “jaws of life,” but it only took a special screwdriver to free the child, and the fireman even stayed to reassemble the chair. That’s called grace.
I’m also thankful for my sisters who prepared me for marriage by helping me learn that it’s impossible to win an argument with a woman you live with. That’s called wisdom.
I’m thankful that most broken electronics are fixed by unplugging them, waiting thirty seconds, and plugging them back in. I’m thankful for the internet and video assembly demonstrations for items that come with French language instruction manuals that only show arrows, slots, and hardware. Otherwise, I’d have a storage room of random, useless parts.
I’m thankful that I didn’t win the auditions for several theatre MFA programs after college. I would have never met my wife, and I would probably be doomed to a life of off-off-Broadway productions and bit parts lasting three seconds on CSI as the dead body.
I’m thankful for the near misses, the high school break-ups, the interstate break-downs, freedom from wealth that could have made me over-confident and less hungry, and the times I got sick, which God used as forced Sabbaths when I was too busy. I’ve come to realize that the blessings of life rarely come from shortcuts, windfalls, and leisure cruises. Instead, I am blessed because of a lot of things that were awkward, uncomfortable, disappointing, and scary. Each moment and person reminds me there was Someone behind the scenes, working all things together for my good. All things––even the unfortunate and slightly embarrassing ones.