Thanksgiving Prayer for Any Circumstance

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Thanksgiving is upon us. Where did November go?

For that matter, where did this year go? It’s spun by at a breakneck speed in our house.

As you know, there’s a lot of turmoil in our family now, yet we’re looking forward to a lively and family-oriented holiday. Not everyone will be there. It’s part of the life we, and our grandchildren, face each and every day. Maybe that’s why the post I read on the Answers in Love blog spoke to me. The writer is a wonderful sister in Christ, and the moment I read her post, I knew it was what I wanted to share with you.

So, as you prepare to gather with family and friends, whether it’s a time of joy or stress, maybe this little prayer will set the tone.

The Amazingly Simple Prayer that Will Leave You Thankful and Peaceful This Season

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Where Is My Father?

Image courtesy of Nutdanai Apikhomboonwaroot/freedigitalphotos.net

For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the Lord will take me in. Psalm 27:10

While Amari worked on his homework yesterday, he called to me, “Babbie, will you call my Daddy?”

My heart aches every time he asks me to do this. Why? I can’t call his father. I have a good guess where he is, but in the two years the grands have lived with us, he’s never initiated contact. Not once. I don’t have an address or a phone number. It’s hard for Amari.

His sister’s father does make contact. He’s not the greatest father example in the world, but he does reach out to Victoria. They talk on the phone for a few seconds usually. He buys her birthday and Christmas gifts and tries to get her something every now and then. It’s not much. He’s disabled and on kidney dialysis due to the damage his lifelong drug use did to his body. At least, the kidney situation made him clean up his act. For that, I’m thankful.

Still, it’s more than Amari’s father has ever done. He wants his father. He asks to talk to Victoria’s father when they’re on the phone. Sometimes, he gets to do so, but it’s not what he’s looking for.

I can’t imagine how he feels. I can’t tell him where his dad is or put him in contact with his dad. Even if I could, I’m not sure I would. Not unless he’s willing to change his lifestyle.

For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. Romans 8:15-17

The good news for Amari is that God is his father. He seems to get this in his childlike way. Several times a week, we talk about God and Jesus and heaven. He brings them up on his own. And he seems to understand the idea that God is his father. A few nights ago, he asked us, “Who is the uncle of the world?”

Confused, we told him we weren’t sure.

Then he said, “Who is the father of the world?”

Since I’m posting this in a faith-based blog, the answer seems obvious, but we had been talking about the members of our family moments before he asked this. We didn’t know.

Amari grinned that amazing smile of his and said, “Yes you do! It’s God and Jesus!”

But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” Luke 18:16-17

Honoring Our Veterans

My Dad

Tomorrow, November 11, is Veteran’s Day. Since it falls the day before my birthday, I’ve never forgotten this holiday. Kids tend to notice when they don’t get their birthday cards on the birthday thanks to a holiday they don’t understand.

Of course, now I understand the importance of this day and urge you to honor our veterans. Below is my traditional post honoring my father’s service.

Blessed Legs

I thought all men’s legs looked like that—harsh crevices outlining the muscles, puckering around the edges. Long gashes ran down his thighs, the shape of a huge eye to my youthful imagination.

I stared at them, not because they were unusual, but because they were at eye level.

Dad stood at the bathroom sink every morning, the scrape, scrape of his razor rasping away his overnight beard growth. Water trickled in the sink, swishing when he rinsed.

I sat on the floor or on the cool edge of the tub and watched the foamy white cream disappear behind each stroke.

His legs were not my focus, but children see what’s at eye level, soaking it in. I saw Dad’s legs.

I accepted those legs as sculpted and muscular. Not the ravaged remains of skin grafts after a bomb in France blew up beside a young soldier. War warranted a brief mention in my childhood years, the reason behind Dad’s missing finger. I imagined his finger shot off while he peered over the edge of a dirt embankment. I was much older before I learned the truth. That my father, six months into his stint in the war, experienced the unfortunate luck of a bomb exploding next to him as he escorted prisoners to their holding place. I can still see the look of wonder on his face when he told me that those same German prisoners carried him to safety after the explosion.

Dad was nineteen. He spent the rest of his life missing a finger, living with tinnitus, carrying shrapnel around in his shoulders, and standing on the most beautiful legs I ever knew a man to have.

Later, when I noticed other men’s legs, I knew the difference. I realized the beauty of the surgeon’s renderings saved my father’s life, grafting skin where he needed it most.

To me his legs represented normal, and with my growing awareness of their true meaning, beautiful. I don’t know if Dad ever realized how I saw his legs, but the daughter in me hopes that somehow he felt my innocent acceptance as a blessing.

Today, please take a moment to acknowledge our veterans and those who gave everything in service to our country.

This post originally appeared in print in The Petigru Review, Vol. 7. Editor Tibby Plants.
South Carolina Writers’ Workshop, 2013, 125-126.
It, also, won an Honorable Mention in the
80th Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competition.