Being thankful involves more than our emotions or feelings. Sometimes it is just that - when the sun is shining in a cloudless northern Michigan sky over freshly painted barns, it's easy to love life. But being thankful is often a decision, a perspective, a commitment to finding that which is good even when the skies are grey and the passing storms bring lightning that levels the buildings we love. "And yet will I praise him," wrote the Psalmist after reciting a litany of reasons why praise should be the last thing on his mind. Paul reminded the church in Thessalonica to give thanks in all circumstances. I don't know how your life has been, but that's a tall order for me.
"My barn having burned to the ground, I can now see the moon." Japanese poet Masahide
As I look back over my life this Thanksgiving, I can see a number of gaps where barns once stood. Yes, I will face more and greater losses. Yes, I have been blessed with the life I have. I just don't want to forget that when the smoke clears, the moon (or perhaps the Son) faithfully brings light to even the charred corners of the world. So, here's my attempt to see the beauty in the ashes. Feel free to add your own!