Is That All You’re Thankful For?

As I struggle to fight off the food coma that washed over us all as soon as the turkey dinner and sweet dessert was served and devoured, I’m feeling reflective on just how many things we have in our family to be thankful for this year. The everyday events and blessings are of course close to the mind these days, but this year, we have massive events to be mindful of and thankful for.

My older brother, the one who unfortunately walked through both an ugly divorce and the diagnosis of prostate cancer, finalized his divorce after almost the entire year and emerged victorious against cancer after surgery and radiation. At only 44, those two struggles taken by themselves would be enough, but to heap them together within the same time frame almost proved to be overwhelming. We are so thankful for his return to health and the fact that he’s on the road to healing, both physically and otherwise.

In early May, my Dad had another frightening stroke-like episode that landed him in the hospital. Although it happened much like the first time, with confusion and agitation, unlike the first time, my Mom recognized it more quickly and knew to call an ambulance. After a scary twenty-four hours that included the initial diagnosis of a 98% blockage on one side of his carotid artery, we thought it meant certain serious surgery. When he had a follow-up test, however, miraculously there was no measurable level of blockage and he was home within the next day instead of facing a surgical procedure. What an amazing change! The tests showed no damage to his brain and no real indication that he had had a stroke at all. The incident did reveal a hole in his heart, but the doctors all agreed that it was too small to even attempt to repair. We are so thankful to have him here with us and to be able to share Thanksgiving in his home.

And then, as if that wasn’t enough, not even a month later, my mom suffered a fall at their house. I knew something bad had happened when my anti-technology Dad called me with their cell phone. He was on his way to the ER after the paramedics had taken my mom by ambulance to the hospital. At first, we thought she’d broken a hip, but it was quickly revealed that in actuality, she broke not one but both femurs. She had two surgeries in two days and began a long recovery that included a hospital and long rehabilitation center stay. It was a long and painful recovery, but the original prognosis was for her to be using a walker until Christmas. My mom is happily and efficiently getting around now with no help at all and even hosted Thanksgiving today. She still needs to rest often and has more recovery and rebuilding, but she exceeded all expectations for healing.

What can one say after walking through so many events this year? While some may curse that the stuff even happened and shake fists at the seeming unfairness of it all, I can only see the blessing in each of them. Through every trial and every struggle, I have seen the hand of God protecting every person every step of the way. It may have been difficult to see the end in the middle and definitely in the beginning, and hindsight is 20/20, but in looking back, it is obvious that every step was taken care of by a loving God who only has our best interest and His good purpose at heart. Never once was any of us abandoned or left to fend for ourselves. How can any of us do or say anything other than praise Him from whom all blessings flow? As Job once declared, “Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?”

Tonight, as we sat around the table, all 14 of us, after watching my Dad choke up as he spoke about the things he’s thankful for, we know acutely well how blessed we are. And at least today, we are grateful to be able to accept the good from God.

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