Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…
“Each man’s life touches so many others…and when he’s not around…it leaves a terrible hole.”
“It’s a Wonderful Life”
Do you ever stop to wonder “where it all went?”
Dawn is quiet as it begins to break bright, cold and sunny today as this week begins to unfold. Our uniquely American holiday of Thanksgiving is knocking once again on the doors of our hearts and homes, and I’d be curious to know if some of you ever wonder—“where it all went?”
So many years of our life gone by—have we had any impact? The big dreams of our hearts so full of promise—have any been fulfilled? The great plans we had mapped out for our future—still rolled up in their original blueprints?
Sitting there with too many “If only I had” thoughts, and looking back on a road of disappointments, regrets, failures. Vague memories of world-conquering idealism from our youth cooled as impractical.
Wondering “where it all went.”
We all do, but for the answer, let me encourage you to look around in a few other places.
Look into the faces of those you love and those who love you. Just look around into the lives of family and friends whom you have touched through the years. Reflect for a moment on the hands and hearts of those who have helped to shape who you are.
Smile with gratitude as you think of those who walk with you today, and who need you to walk with them. And you will find that the answer to “where it all went” is right there, in all the rivers of recollection of the faces and little things that flood over you during your quietest of moments.
Recollections of people, places and moments that fill you with a sense of peace, a sense of thanksgiving, a sense of an eternal assurance that no matter where you’ve been and where you are on your journey today your life has touched and been touched by so many others. And so often in ways you may never know.
A few years ago in a tiny fishing village, the villagers decided they needed one more big catch for the season to get them through the winter. They decided that tomorrow they’d go out to sea one more time. And tomorrow came and the men went out to sea.
As they were out a storm came up. The wind howled. The sea rolled. There were waves that would break smaller boats to pieces. And then darkness. The frightened wives and children huddled together at the pier of the village looking out into the dark sea, to hope, pray, and to wait.
But there was no sign of the boats.
Suddenly, back up on the hill, a fire had started. The youngest of the wives had forgotten to put out the candles in her cottage. The women watched helplessly as the fire raged through that tiny cottage. Then out of the darkness of the sea—a shout—the greatest sound some say they had ever heard.
The boats were safely back.
There was laughter, crying, echoes of “Thank God” and high celebration all around. Except for Annie, whose home had been destroyed by the fire. Until, that is, her husband took her into his arms and said—
“Oh, don’t worry, Annie. We were lost in the night, in the storm, until we saw that light.”
The light of the flames from their cottage had guided them safely home. A moment of thanksgiving, of lives touched. A moment of blessing, out of what seemed like a moment of despair and ashes.
Three hundred and ninety-two years ago in 1623, the Pilgrims gathered at their meeting house in the Plymouth Colony, “to render thanksgiving to Almighty God for all His blessings.” Their thanks came after a difficult time spent establishing the beginnings of this great land. It came in the midst of a cold and hard winter.
And this Thanksgiving Thursday, might we do the same. Setting aside the disappointments of our lives, and giving thanks for the blessings of God’s love which are all around us. Setting aside the regrets of the past, remembering all the blessings which have shaped our lives and the lives of others.
And remembering that our lives, in ways we may never know, have been a light in the storm for so many others. And always remembering, as our Pilgrims did, to give thanks to almighty God for it all.
Happy Thanksgiving, and may God continue to bless each of you and all whom you continue to touch, today and every day, for the rest of your life.
In His Name—Scott
Copyright 2015. Scott L. Whitaker. All rights reserved.