Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Thoughts from Idaho

There's no snow on the ground here which is ironic when I think back to the blanket of white stuff we received last Thanksgiving in Midland, TX. It is cold here though and a fire in the fire place and warm cup of coffee are welcome this morning.

Stephanie and the girls and I are enjoying being with Stephanie's family while my brother and his family are in Abilene with his in-laws and Lee Ann and Tod celebrate in Midland and prepare for another Midland Christian football play-off game. Dad is giving thanks in Kenya where it is easy to count your blessings compared to the AIDS patients he's serving there. And Rose? Well, she's enjoying a quiet day of football and solitude and that's just fine with her.

I guess there will never be a holiday or birthday that sneaks past without thoughts of Connor. It was here in Idaho that we received the news of the accident and our unbelievable loss. Thankfully, those first few hours after that horrible phone call are a blur, so I have only good feelings about being here.

Last Thanksgiving however, is a clear and thankfully sweet memory. As we sat at Lee Ann and Tod's house with the absence of our beautiful Connor hanging over us like a dark cloud, we attempted to figure out how this was supposed to work. We told stories, looked at scrapbooks and cried our way through a Thanksgiving prayer. What next? I wondered. Traditional football watching, naps and leftovers I supposed, but nothing tasted or felt...well, right.

And then God did what only He can do.

Snow began to fall in Midland. Big white fluffy perfect snowball making wonderful flakes! We marveled at its beauty and then wrapped ourselves up, oldest to youngest, and went outside for a massive snowball fight. Before we knew it, we were laughing, playing, hurling snowballs and feeling a weight lifted. It was indeed, as if He had sent that snow specifically for our family. I would not have been surprised to learn that it only fell on our street. It was in a word, graceful. And Connor would have loved it.

I'm mindful of all those who are suffering the heartbreak of loss today, specifically the Meador family after the sudden passing of Prentice and the Fishers as they mourn the loss of Aunt Ro.

May the God of all peace, love and hope send you the snowfall of comfort you need today and may we all give thanks for His bountiful grace.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Proud and Hopeful

I rarely use words like "proud" and "hopeful" when speaking of political matters. More often words like "idiots", "shameful" and "greedy" come out of my mouth. But today, I'm proud of the United States of America.

It's not politically correct to say you're not proud to be an American under any circumstances, but I'm not a politician, so I can be honest. There are many times that, while being thankful for my citizenship and the blessings that come with it, I am not proud of my countries actions.

Last night however, my heart swelled and my eyes moistened as we elected our first African American President. Whether you voted for him or not, please don't let the historical significance of this moment pass you by without considering how far we've come as a country. Senator McCain mentioned it last night and President Bush made mention of it again in his speech this morning. Think about where we were just 4 decades ago. Could anyone have imagined even then that we'd elect a black president in our lifetime. Go back another 10 years and the answer is certainly no.

Maybe I'm just getting swept up in the excitement. Perhaps I'm guilty of drinking the kool-aid. But I do feel hopeful today. I'm hopeful that change will do us good. I'm hopeful that our new Commander-in-Chief will be as successful in office as he was on the campaign trail. I'm hopeful that my children will not in any way relate to the bigotry of their grandparents generation. Yes, I'm hopeful.

One of my favorite moments last night was during McCain's concession speech. One network showed the crowd gathered in Chicago's Grant Park. On my screen appeared a group of young people who were there (according to their t-shirts) to celebrate Obama's historic win. When the Republican candidate appeared on the big screen set up in the park, these young, excited citizens stopped and respectfully listened to Senator McCain. It was a simple moment that reminded me that if we would just respectfully listen to each other we could learn so much and get so much more done.

So yes, I'm proud and I'm hopeful, two emotions that are often difficult to come by when politics are involved.