The Exchange - Thankfulness, Repentance, and the Reconnaissance of God
In examining what I should, and am, thankful for this year it has occurred to me that perhaps any recounting would be insufficient. After all I have too many things to be thankful for this past year.
The year before this past one, (2006 AD) was a personally dark one for me. Death all around me, the near dissolution of my marriage, failures great and small, any number of personal and family and professional and even national woes. But this past year (2007 AD) has been a year of an entirely different character. It has been one of the most productive and pleasing, not to mention rich in achievement and purpose, years of my entire adult life. Much of this change in my fortunes and the fortunes of my family is due of course to the fact that I (and we) radically changed our approach to life (from one of constant complaint and discouragement when things went against us to one of thankfulness for the opportunities and solutions offered us in overcoming our problems and once again prospering), repented of (not just admitted and confessed, but actively repented of) some sins which were interfering with our happiness. Our main problem and chief defect, as I look back upon those events and that situation with the passage of another years is that we were absorbed in the confluence of our problems and not concentrated upon the achievements of our important objectives. In short, our woes outweighed our wisdom, and our ungratefulness outweighed our humility, at least within the circuit of our own minds, and hearts. But thankfully, we had an Ally. One who was not so much concerned with our distrust and fears, as with our potential, one who was determined upon his steady and unflinching duty, while we were absorbed with the seeming solidity of our doubt.
While during my dark night of the soul I was spending my time bitching and braying and barking at the moon about the injustice of how things were drifting south into a Sargasso Sea of sterile stagnation, God was out scouting a clear path through, charting a course of movement towards salvation and safety, in short reconnoitering in our favor. Then He came and got us, and steered us clear. Because we let him of course, but nevertheless while we weathered the storm, he scouted the path, he navigated us to clear port. And so I take from all of our troubles in the year proceeding, and all of our successes in the year just passing, that I can be very thankful that while I am sometimes lost in the thorny path, caught in the storm, lashed at sea on the slim and creaking bark, there is a Navigator, a Scout, a patient Guide who finds the way and then returns to lead me, and those around me, to the safer land, the better port, along the road less taken, or at least along the road less purposely chosen. In short I am thankful that when I decided that I had run a’ground there was another who would take the wheel, who could master helm, thankful that when I was lost and wandering in the trackless wilderness of my own confusion that there was another who would scout ahead and lead me beyond the desert of my own despair, beyond the limits of myself.
Christ I am grateful for your assistance, and for what I have learned from you (and re-learned, as being a man I must on occasion be reminded of those things which are obvious, and yet nevertheless ignorantly ignored when I am in every way consumed with nothing but myself and my own interests), God I am grateful for all I have been given and enjoy, and great and Holy Ghost I am thankful that you have reminded me yet again there is a better way. And that a Ghost really does walk the earth, silent, watching, guiding, aware, waiting to turn men aside from the path of self-absorption to the trail leading through to that Undiscovered Country where all things real exceed all things imagined.
And now remembering that there is a better way, mindful of what can be done with the proper attitude and position towards all we experience, and grateful for the fresher manner in which it seems all things have been again reborn, I thank you God, that I am but a man, and yet that I am but your man. Which says not so much about me of course, but it does say this as a matter of course, where you lead I will follow. So, lead on. I’ll follow as my limitations allow. But I will follow.
For there is no better path to roam.
© JWG, Jr. 2007