As a United Methodist pastor, it feels wrong to me to be moving in November. It just isn’t the right month! This is one of the new twists on this year’s Thanksgiving season. The movers come the Monday after Thanksgiving. At least we will be moved (probably not unpacked!) before the start of Advent.
Even with moving, I love this time of year. I like thinking about all the things that I’m thankful for. Sometimes it is as simple as being thankful for things like my nineteen-year old pick-up truck. I’m using my truck to move some boxes and items before the movers get here, in an effort to lower our poundage (we are going to be above the Conference’s limit). Luckily (or unluckily) we have a garage full of boxes from our Alaska house. I’m finding that as I move (or prepare to move) items I’m having my memory prompted.
This last Friday, riding in the front seat, I moved the clock that my Grandpa made for my parents. After my Mom died, my Dad gave it to me. I was a little kid when this clock was hung in our living room, where it stayed for all of my growing up years (and beyond). Since the clock was near my bedroom, I remember wondering as a kid if I would ever be able to sleep through the chimes. It turned out not to be a problem! I treasure my childhood memories. I don’t think I knew at the time how lucky I was, but I know now.
I have been pondering on moving the pew that is in our garage. I need to do it when I have some help, because it is too heavy for me to move it alone. This pew was in the church that I pastored in Alaska. Years later we lived in Alaska for an additional year when I took some time off from ministry. The church had bought new chairs, and had some of the pews available to be bought. I was on the list to buy one, and received a call that if I wanted it, I needed to come right then. That was the night that the power steering went out on my truck (funny some of the things we remember). This pew reminds me of how blessed I am to be a pastor (sometimes I need a reminder!) and leads me to think about all of the churches that I am honored to have been able to serve as a pastor.
Maybe, at the same time that I move the pew, there will be enough room to move our foosball table. We spent so many fun hours when my daughter lived at home playing foosball! I was first introduced to foosball at the Wesley Foundation when I was a freshman in college, the same time that I met my wife. I’m really unsure where we are going to put this in our new house, but we were hesitant to get rid of it. It has been a great blessing in my life to be a husband and father! It’s fun to review these memories.
I’m sure that my memories will be on over-load when our move really gears up! Thanksgiving is a natural time for me to be thankful (even when we are moving), but I find that having a thankful attitude is helpful all year long. I think that the root of my thankfulness is Christianity. It is hard not to be thankful when looking at all that Jesus has done for us—even to the cross!
My hope for you is more than just having a great Thanksgiving Day—it is that you will have a greatly thankful life! Each of us have been mightily blessed, even though sometimes we might struggle with events in our lives that make us wonder. Ironically, the attitudes that we claim effect the way that we experience life. I believe that one of the greatest gifts that God has given us—and Jesus has taught us—is the gift of thankfulness.
Your brother on the journey, Mark