A conservative news and views blog.

Location: St. Louis, Missouri, United States

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Giving Thanks

Last year at this time a friend died. He`d apparently had a stroke, and a police-officer friend found him dead on his kitchen floor. His funeral was a very sad affair, as he was much loved. He was in his mid-forties.

This Thanksgiving, my friend 7lb Dave (he`d caught a 7 pound Bass and was inordinately proud of it!) lost his Mother-in-Law unexpectedly; she had an aortal aneurysm and her passing was a complete shock. (You may remember, actor John Ritter died of this exact same illness.) Dave`s poor wife and family had the grim task of burying their mother right after Thanksgiving, and their lives have been forever changed.

Yesterday I received a shocking call from my mother; my father had suffered a heart attack and was in the hospital. He had been at our house on Thanksgiving, and was having chest pains then, but he (and everybody else) thought that he had eaten too much. I know that dad has been suffering from bad indigestion for a while (which is a warning sign) but had never considered that he might have a heart attack; he is in good physical condition, eats well, tries to exercise (although he does smoke albeit not very much) and has no heart disease on his side of the family. My dad is one of those people who thins and toughens as he ages-they are the people who usually have strong hearts.

Fortunately, he went to the hospital in time, and it looks like all is well. They found two arteries were 99% clogged, and performed balloon angioplasty to clear the blockage. (It is miraculous what medicine can do these days; my dad was awake and watching the proceedure on a television monitor!) He`ll be coming home tomorrow, and should be back at it in no time!

He dodged a bullet.

How long can anyone go before they come to a bullet they CAN`T dodge? This whole episode has me thinking about our collective mortality, and the brief flicker which is life. The Bible describes our days on this Earth as ``like the morning dew`` which quickly fades in the heat of day. We don`t like to think about it, but our time is short, and what we can accomplish is limited.

When we are young we believe we have eternity before us, and time is an easy thing to squander. It is the unfortunate folly of youth that we waste our chances and misspend our time. Some learn the importance of it early, most not until a bit later, while some never realize how precious is our time here. Our lives must be lived in such a way that they are not in vain, yet it is easy to look to tomorrow for what we should be doing today. Man is a procrastinator by nature; we don`t like to grab the bull by the horns, but prefer our ease and comfort. Day after day we live our lives while the falling sands of time collect about our feet. Time, like those grains of sand in the sun, is hot on our heels, yet too often we vow to get moving ``tomorrow``. We are wrong. Time is indeed the stuff of life; we should never waste a moment given us.

A week ago Sunday the Gospel reading at my Church was about three servants who were given sums of money by their master, and who were then left to manage his affairs. The first servant had invested wisely, as had the second, and had made a fine profit for their master. The third, however, had buried his portion under a ground. The master rewarded the first two servants, but angrily fired the lazy third for squandering what was given him. The whole point of this parable was to illustrate precisely what I am talking about; we have all been given our lives for a purpose, and we need to live them wisely. Our days here are short, and we need to be grateful for the time we have to accomplish that purpose. You needn`t be religious to see the wisdom of this; the atheist should die knowing he made the world a better place for his time spent here. (Granted, I sympathize with the atheist; his time here is ALL, and often he is desperate to be relevent.) We should be grateful for the opportunities presented us.

Which is precisely the problem with Liberalism; liberals are ungrateful! Theirs is a philosophy which, although centered almost entirely on Earthly things, has at it`s core envy and ingratituted. The left never is thankful for the great blessings given us-rather, they complain incessantly about what is denied. Since time is short on this Earth, the denial of things wished for is doubly painful. Everyone has some blessing denied to others, and the unfairness of this demands wrathful action to the liberal and the ingrate. To many on the left, it is better if no-one has something than that some have while others have not. Better the pot be empty for all than full for some. What right have we to be full, how can we be thankful when others are lacking? How dare we rejoice the blessings of today when sorrow waits at the door?

That is why the Bible says to ``give thanks in all things``. A thankful spirit guarantees we not squander our time, nor decend into bitterness and envy.

That is why the Pilgrims celebrated that first Thanksgiving; it was not just because they had food, but because God had given them the means to continue to live, continue on this Earth in the work they set out to do. They saw the value in their lives, the worth in what they were doing, and were grateful for the beneficience provided by their God to carry on. Without such gratefulness, the Colony would have perished.

I know that 7lb. Dave and his wife are grateful. Not that her mother died, but that they had the privelege to know her and learn from her. Her time was a blessing, albeit a brief one.

I am grateful to have known my friend Dan, who`s passing we mark today. He touched many lives, and for the better.

I am thankful, indeed, that my father is going to be well. When the time comes for him to depart from us, I will be eternally grateful to have known him, to have had him teach me, to be able to carry something of his spirit with me for the rest of my days. He will never die, in that regard, as long as my family holds to those things he worked so hard to instill in us, and remembers in gratitude those things he did for us.

Love is eternal, and gratitude is the expression of that love.

And I know that I`ll see him again, on the other side, when my time is finished on this Earth. There is great comfort in that!

For that, too, I am grateful!



Blogger Esther said...

Hey, I left a comment on this yesterday. What happened? Shoot. I liked it too.

Tim, beautifully written post. I'm grateful your father is going to be okay. My heart goes out to you for all you've had to deal with. My condolences on your losses.

7:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tim, though I lost my dad 5 years ago, it was his time and he missed mom dreadfully. I also wanted you to know that this was an awesome post. Thanks from the bottom of my heart.

10:39 PM  
Blogger Aussiegirl said...

B beautiful and wise words, Tim, thanks for posting this. All best wishes to your dad, lucky his disease was caught and treated in time, he's very lucky - as are you. I lost my dad many years ago when I was in my 20's. It was a real blow to us all, and I miss him to this day. I often dream about him, and he is so vivid and alive in these dreams that I am convinced they are visitations from the other side. He always appears to me at a time of difficulty when I have to make a decision, and invariably the content of the dream points me in the right direction. You are lucky to still have your dad around. Yes, short is the hour of splendor in the grass, as the poet wrote and we are wise to always keep the finiteness of our days here on earth in mind as the minutes tick by. Sorry for the loss of your friend -- it is always such a shock when someone young dies suddenly or falls ill with a dreadful disease.

12:18 PM  

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