Just stop and say thanks today

Published 10:41 pm Thursday, September 6, 2018

By Myrtle Virginia Thompson

The simple word thanks — that small message on our lips, spoken often — would provide a wonderful change from the griping, complaining and harshness that is enveloping us as we view protesters who seem ungrateful and unaware of their everyday blessings. Do we recognize what America offers us? I am looking back through 90 years of pages in my life. I lived many of them in a third world country. May I share some memories?

I am thankful I was born in America, out in the country, a small place called Deep Creek, in hard times, to parents who had suffered through several tragic circumstances. I imbibed of their ability to endure without thinking the world owed me something. My parents experienced the loss of a 10-year-old daughter from a school accident. My mom was still grieving when she knew she was expecting another child. She cried out to God, saying, “God, if You will make me love this baby, I will give it back to You for whatever You want.” God answered her prayer and I was born, the eighth child in nine, but I knew nothing of this until I was ready to leave as a missionary for Pakistan, where I spent the first 17 plus years of my married life.

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What I did know and experience was the early 1930s, those bitter Depression days, and loss when we had to move from the nice home they had recently built to an old farmhouse that needed restoration. Just days later, the kitchen oil stove caught fire, and in minutes, the farm house was engulfed. There was no accessible fire department. Can we be thankful today for the fire department?

The picture of that early-morning fire is still vivid in my mind. I remember being set down on the ground on a quilt, told not to get up. The house, furniture, all their nice furnishings, all gone in a moment of time. In their need to hurry to get moved in, Mom and Dad had not taken time to go into town and get insurance. I feel sure neighbors helped as much as they could and somehow, my parents persevered. I can be thankful for that.

Life must have been so hard for them, but I don’t recall any self-pity or complaining. That makes me believe it is the hard times that build character and the willingness to keep us going. I am thankful for that.

I am thankful for living through the war years, for those who fought and died so I could experience freedom. With that comes the privilege of worship in churches. I am saddened for people who see no need to worship a God Who has continually blessed us. Christians in many countries are being persecuted for their faith. I am thankful I am not, at least, not yet. I pray it never happens to us, but I know it could.

Our country is unique. We have an abundance of education, schools, police, firefighters, transportation, clean water, food, clothing, stores for everything we want and need, truckers and farmers who provide fresh vegetables, workers who take away our garbage, and so much more. People go to work every day making life better for us. Can we say thanks for those things?

We live in good times. It is wrong to think they “evolved.” We are blessed by God with strength, determination and desire, handed down blessings. Yes, there is dishonesty, theft, mistreatment of others because we have a spiritual enemy who darkens the hearts of people, undermining God’s desire for us to love and serve Him alone, to have no other gods before Him.

There are less than three months until Thanksgiving. Any day now we may be seeing Christmas displays, a hope for happiness to someone or ourselves. The economy is better, more jobs are available, a little more money to spend. Shouldn’t we stop and have a bit of Thanksgiving spirit right now? Why not? Let’s start today.

Myrtle V. Thompson is a 90-year-old retired missionary, educator and writer. Contact her at mvtgrt@gmail.com.