FREEBIE! FREEBIE! I’m giving away a Christmas edition of Chicken Soup for the Soup. And my first Chicken Soup for the Soul story is in it! You have a chance to win. All you have to do is (1) be a subscriber to this blog and (2) leave a comment. What are you thankful for? You have until November 30 to add your comment. I’ll post the winner’s name in the December 1 blog. I’m thankful that you’re willing to take time to visit my blog.
It’s well after 2 A.M., so technically Thanksgiving has arrived. Of course, it’s never to early to give thanks. Most of us give thanks daily for the blessings in our lives, our family, friends, our jobs, our talents, etc.
But tonight—this morning—what I’m most thankful for is what I have never seen—what’s on the other side of “the” line. I have no doubt that in my lifetime I’ve teetered on “the” line. We all have. I just don’t know what to call that line.
It’s the line that separates “all is well” from “nothing will ever be the same.”
The first near disaster I can remember was when I was in elementary school. Only one other person in the world knows this story, and I’m ashamed I have this story to tell.
I grew up with no brothers or sisters, and the little boy who lived across the street from me was the closest thing I had to a brother. One day we were snooping around a neighbor’s garage and found these odd bottles that had been hidden away. Nobody knew we had found these bottles. I had never seen bottles like these. We didn’t have anything like them at my house.
The funny thing about these bottles is that most of them were empty, but a few of them still had a liquid in them, and this liquid smelled funny and strong. Very strong. I’m pretty sure these bottles had a man’s name on the front. Jack, maybe. Or George.
We took these bottles to my garage, which was detached from the house, and we decided to perform a chemistry experiment, not that we knew what chemistry was back then. We were probably around six or seven years old at the time.
We put these bottles in a garbage can and dropped matches in them. WHOOSH! The more liquid in the bottle, the bigger the flame. And what pretty colors. (I’ve always had this thing about fire.)
It wasn’t until I was grown that I realized just how close we probably were to burning down the garage. My dad always kept his gas for the lawn mower in a round can just above the old garbage can where we were shooting flames. And turpentine. And probably a dozen other flammable liquids.
The only thing that stopped us is we spotted the fire marshal, driving by in his red car. We were sure he was out to get us, so we hid out the rest of the day.
Oh, how thankful I am that I don’t know how close I’ve come to going over “the” line.
Last year my family and I were returning home from Franklin one night, and our truck hit a patch of black ice on the interstate. Without warning, our truck went totally out of control and started sliding sideways toward the median. We came so close. If we had driven off the road, I have no doubt we would have flipped and landed in on-coming traffic. But we’ll never know how close we came to crossing “the” line. I’m so thankful.
A few years ago we traveled out west and crossed the border into Juarez. We stepped off the bus at the wrong stop and found ourselves wandering around clueless that the city was notorious for its drug wars and murders. We were happy go lucky, admiring the sites. But God sent a young man name Chuy to take us where we needed to be. We naively hopped in his van, and off we went.
Was he really honest? Did he have ulterior motives? Did something change his plans? Were we ever in danger? We’ll never know. I’m so thankful. (And just as we were returning to El Paso, they closed the bridge, and we were detained due to a terrorist threat. What might have happened had we boarded the bus? We’ll never know.)
I carry a chilling memory from my college days. I remember heading for the campus bookstore, not a care in the world. Just as I was about to enter, a boy called me by name. I approached him, and we talked. I had never seen him before in my life. But he seemed to know everything about me—my family, my interests, all sorts of unusual things a person wouldn’t expect a stranger to know. I asked the boy to identify himself, but I didn’t recognize his name as a friend or acquaintance.
It wasn’t very long after our strange encounter that I heard this boy’s name in the news. He was a perpetrator in a homicide-suicide, involving a young woman. How did this boy know my name? Why did he stop me as I was walking in the bookstore? I will never know. I’m so thankful I don’t know.
So often we are delayed in traffic. A phone call keeps us from walking out the door. Why? We may never know. Perhaps we entertain angels unaware. Or perhaps God sends his angels to snatch us back to safety as we put one foot over the line.
Several years ago my mother became very, very ill at Thanksgiving. I don’t know how close we came to losing her. She spent some time on a breathing machine. All I know is that I’m glad Jesus spared us from crossing that line.
Holidays can be very difficult, especially for those who have recently lost love ones or who have suffered life-changing events. Let us remember to give thanks both for giving us blessings and for sparing us from unseen sorrows and evils. Are there people in your life who need your prayers? Are they close to crossing “the” line and not even aware? We may never know.
Dear Lord, it is my prayer that you will put a hedge of protection around all the readers who visit this blog. Please bless them and keep them safe throughout the holidays. I thank you for sending Jesus to save us from our sins. It is in His name, I pray. Amen.