And gnaw ya around in the gnarly clutches of its’ jaws
and then just spit ya right back out…quivering and helpless.
It’s unfair and unjust…
and when you’re at your limit…well, there ya are…at your limit!
My brother shared a story at my nephew’s funeral about a man who was struggling under the weight of a very heavy cross.
It was gnarled and covered in thistles with rough bark making it difficult for his tired and aching hands to hold. As blisters began to form and his arms and legs trembled while struggling to gain foot hold, he tripped over the rocky path, and began to cry out, “OH God! This is more than I can bear. I can’t go on. I’ve reached my limit. I just can’t take anymore.” Tears coursed down his cheeks. His hair and body and clothes reeked with the sweat of toil.
“My son, I love you so much, and just ahead you will find a little shed under the shade of a large old oak tree. Stop there. Rest. Catch your breath.
Inhale the cool breezes. Inside the shed you will find many crosses. You can trade your cross for one of those. ”
With relief, he reached the cool shade of the old oak tree. Finding the door to the shed partially open, he wedged his worn and sweaty body into the small structure which held the other crosses. As his weary eyes adjusted to the darkness after the piercing sun, he was aghast to realize that those crosses for which he could trade, were much larger, with grotesque and unbalanced shapes and razor sharp bark and thistles. In fact, after looking them over,
he couldn’t find a single one,
that he wanted instead.
Actually, he felt his heart strengthen
and as cool breezes fluttered the shade of the old oak tree,
HE FELT THANKFUL,
yes, thankful for HIS cross.
The other crosses looked absolutely
Though his cross was still heavy and the way was still difficult, he chose to keep his cross. It even looked slightly beautiful compared to the others, if he held his head at just the right angle while slightly squinting his eyes. With a heart filled with thankfulness
“I don’t think it’s quite as heavy anymore. ” So onward he trudged, faithfully keeping and carrying his very own cross.
You may say that 2019 has been difficult with no reprieve, mostly valleys, no breaks in the path for short cuts to the restful pastures. And I’d look in your eyes and nod my head and agree, wholeheartedly. But there are always heavier crosses and deeper valleys so I choose gratefulness at Thanksgiving.
I believe gratitude and joy is a choice. Hope and faith, love and trust… ALL choices. Choices from deep within
all birthed on the treacherous
path of thankfulness. Our choices guide us. In choosing thankfulness,
what we choose…Joy, Hope, Faith, Love, Trust
YOU ALL mean so much to me. My heart is filled with gratitude for the tribe that gathers here to enccourage each other. Thank you for being here.
What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving?