I’m sure when my mom planned it out in her head, the scene went something like this: As the candle went from person to person, they would share their innermost thankfulness and weeping would ensue. People all around the room would be so touched that a thanksgiving prayer meeting would break out and thousands would be saved. Yep, I’m almost positive that is what she expected.
There was only one problem. She invited me. And my sons. Bad idea, Mom.
A couple of Thanksgivings ago, my mom got the crazy idea to be solemn after Thanksgiving lunch. So instead of watching football, I was stuck in a room full of people who were passing around a little candle and telling everyone what they were thankful for.
I felt like a little kid at a birthday party. As they keep passing out cake it dawns on you that your favorite piece, the corner where all of the icing has piled up, is gone. All that is left are the little pieces in the middle that are mostly cake and very little icing. As the candle made its way around from family member to family member, I realized that all of the cool stuff to be thankful for was gone. People had already been thankful for their church, for God, for salvation, for their family (liars!) and their health. It was starting to feel like déjà vu all over again. So when the candle was two people away I began putting together what I was going to say. I had to say something new, something not boring, something that nobody would forget.
With shaking hands I took the candle apprehensively and said as seriously as I could, “I am thankful for cheese.” With my pronouncement over, I handed the candle to my stunned wife.
You know the feeling when you pass by an accident on the side of the road and you don’t want to be morbid and look, but you just can’t help yourself? I knew I shouldn’t look at my mom, but I just couldn’t help myself. She had a look on her face that I remember well from my childhood. I would get it in church when I was acting up and I knew (or thought) that she couldn’t smack me right then. It was a look that basically meant, “I can’t do anything now, but I WILL kill you at some point.” I shook it off, thinking to myself, “I am an adult now, she can’t spank me.” Truthfully, though, I wasn’t totally convinced.
It was just starting to get better when my youngest son, Critter, said, “I’m thankful for cheese, too.” Stinking kid. Not only did he steal my line, he got me in trouble all over again! Critter’s biggest problem is that he is way too much like his dad…
It turned out okay. Eventually my mom laughed about it, and it is a funny story in our family. My mom has had the good sense not to do the candle thing again, so maybe a valuable lesson has been learned. Well, she has never done it when I am there.
In reality, I have so much to be thankful for. My beautiful wife puts up with me, for no apparent reason. I have two great sons, a great daughter-in-law, and an awesome fake daughter. My grandson brings joy to me every day, whether I see him or not. I co-pastor the best church in Imperial Valley (my opinion, of course), and God has been much better to me than I deserve.
What are you thankful for? Why wait until Thanksgiving to express your gratitude? Our lives should be all about praising God and telling him thanks for all he does every day. Cultivate an attitude of gratitude and see how much better you feel.
Still thankful for cheese… Jerry