Tuesday, October 1, 2013

In Every Thing Give Thanks

October is "thanksgiving month" here at Reading the Leaves. It's the month that I try to write each day about something for which I am thankful.

I have so much to be thankful for this year; my heart some mornings feels like it could burst when I think of all the many goodnesses that fill my life, ranging from Bob's sweet little lemon loaves to gracious Debbie, who has taken over cleaning the TH every week as part of the many ministries she is involved in all over town.

But even though my heart is overflowing, the words are having great difficulty being released from inside me to RtL this year. Nevertheless, I will try, on as many days as I can, to tell you one thing for which I am grateful this month.


I was dreading the flight to Toronto last night: I was already so tired from the weekend, then I had a full Monday, and the Tuesday 00:05 departure loomed over my head like that cloud of crows over the dead porcupine on the bridge to Big Valley last Sunday morning.

I checked in and cleared security in good time and managed to find a comfy armchair in which to rest and wait for the boarding call. I whiled away the minutes by chatting to a friend on the phone. We were talking about how much we had to be thankful for and while we spoke, the verse from Paul's first letter to the Thessalonians came to our minds:

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you (I Thessalonians 5:18)

And it struck me for the first time ever that notwithstanding all the hours I spend thinking about God's will for my life and praying that it will be revealed to me, God's will has been right in front of me all these years.

God's will for me is that I give thanks for everything! Every thing ...

I boarded the plane, jacked up on a large coffee, double-double, from MacDonald's.

Big mistake. The plane was overbooked and overwarm. A couple of men were snoring resonantly. The tiny ancient lady in the middle seat next to me slept fitfully on her neck cushion.

My legs and soon my whole body started to feel restless, fueled by caffeine way too late in the day; then I began to feel lightheaded, like I couldn't get enough air. I fiddled with my personal air vent but nothing happened. Finally, I thought that if I didn't get out of my seat, I was going to faint or throw up or both. I grabbed the dreaded paper bag so thoughtfully provided in every seat pocket and gently yet urgently tapped the lady's shoulder. "I have to get out, I'm so sorry ..."

Immediately she was awake and in full maternal mode. "My dear, are you all right? You're completely white!" She shook the man on her other side awake and they hastily got out of my way. I staggered to the back of the plane and stowed myself in one of the washrooms, praying not to be sick, trying to figure out if every thing meant even this. I locked myself in and doubled over, pretty much on the floor, trying to get oxygen to my head and push the waves of nausea down.

I happened to glance up: this particular washroom was equipped with one of those same air vents with which I had unsuccessfully battled at my seat, pointed down directly at me but turned off. When I twisted the nozzle, to my great relief gusts of cool air hit my face.

My hand, clutching the sink counter for balance, landed on a couple of small square paper squares. Upon examining them I saw that they were sealed packages containing antiseptic swabs, the very thing to place on the back of my neck and my wrists to cool my head and temper the pounding of my pulse. Why they were on the counter, I had no idea; I was just grateful that they were.

Thank you for the relief of air and the icy coolness of the alcohol swabs, I silently offered to God. Thank you that every one else is asleep and no one's pounding on the door.

When I finally felt well enough to make my way back to my seat, my row mates were sleepy but kindly enquired as to how I was feeling. I settled into my seat to learn that the pilot had made tremendous headway and somehow our plane was going to be landing almost 45 minutes early. My suitcase was the third one to land on the conveyor belt. There was a cab waiting and no line up. I was at the hotel by 6:10 a.m., and the wonderful man at the counter said, "I happen to have an available room - I'll check you in right now so you can rest for an hour."

I slept for an hour, splashed water on my face and tidied my hair, and headed down for the day, committing myself to choosing to be grateful and positive for the duration of the conference.

And I remembered something I had heard on Phil Callaway's program "Laugh Again":

We get to choose our attitude, even when we are powerless to choose anything else.

So even when I can't seem to figure out what God's will for my life might be, I know that if I choose to be grateful - if I choose to live - I am in God's will for me.


  1. ...for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you...

  2. Take care of yourself Karyn and hope you are feeling better very very soon

  3. Thank you for the gracious reminder to be grateful. In every thing give thanks. I have thought of your writing so recently when feeling parched in the desert. Today in this a favorite month I choose to join in and find gratitudes that speak directly to my heart.

  4. I'm thankful that it's October so that I get to read more posts from you:). You definitely have a way with words and it's nice to be able to "go along" with you on some of your journeys! We really do have a lot to be thankful for in the countries that we live in, even when things aren't going as smoothly as we'd like.

  5. Hi Karyn love to you n your dad.


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