Remaining thankful after Thanksgiving Day


By Matt Clayton - Guest columnist



As the Christmas holiday approaches, like so many others I find myself amazed at how quickly time passes. It seems like only a few weeks ago I was picking the last of this year’s tomato crop and thinking about raking leaves. Now here we are on the verge of a new year leaving me to wonder, where did the time go … and, what happened to Thanksgiving Day?

Yes, Thanksgiving Day came and went all too quickly for me this year and when it was over, I felt something was overlooked. It wasn’t a lack of celebration. We attended two Thanksgiving dinners; one a week early at my daughter’s home out of state, and another on the day of at my brother-in-law’s home in Troy. Both get-togethers featured a variety of excellent food and fellowship, and we enjoyed our time together. Still, at the end of it all, there was something missing. It just didn’t seem like the holiday got it’s just deserve. That evening when I laid my head to rest, I prayed, thanking God for all the goodness in my life; as I lie there recounting blessings, I drifted off to sleep.

The next morning I got up and prepared to go to work. Our family was busy hand-painting winter and Christmas scenes on the windows of stores and restaurants in Sidney and several other local communities. While driving to the next window I turned on the radio. The leading news story for that morning was “Black Friday,” complete with local and nation-wide estimates of the earnings expected for the biggest shopping day of the year. Now, I’m not a shopper in any sense of the word, so as I drove onward. I was glad that I was going to work and not worrying about looking for an empty space in a jam-packed parking lot, followed by lumbering along with the bewildered herd that ambled up and down the aisles of indecision in the land of deceptive marketing.

As I pulled up to my destination my mind snapped back into gear. I got out and went through the motions of preparing to paint the next window. The air was chilly, but refreshing. No crowds out here, just an empty window waiting to be filled with a little Christmas cheer. I shivered a little, wishing for some sunshine and the boundless energy I knew in my youth. And though my eyes were focused on my work, my heart and thoughts were many miles away.

I was pondering the condition of my eldest niece, who had recently undergone a very delicate, life-threatening surgery. Just a week before, she was fine; a seemingly healthy 41-year-old wife and mother of 13-year-old twins, preparing for another day and the regular routine. Without warning, she suffered a sudden seizure. — Hours later she awoke to a crowd of doctors and nurses huddling around her in a large hospital working to save her life. Though the operation went well, she was not out of the woods, and faced several weeks of post-surgery treatments. It would be a major challenge, to say the least.

As I meditated on her situation, I felt guilty for even considering the physical discomforts I detected while getting ready to paint. While organizing my equipment, a large hole opened up in the clouds, I felt the warmth of the sun on the side of my face. Suddenly, the lights came on. I likened it to a scene in movie when something clicks and the next thing you hear is the sound of someone running their fingers across the strings of a harp! Almost immediately, the cares of the day were replaced by the appreciation that although some things in my life could be better, some things, no, many things, could be much, much, worse. I had so much to be thankful for! Yes, that little something that was pecking away at me the day before, the missing ingredient was a heart of thanksgiving for the countless blessings we are immersed in on a daily basis. All the delightful things we all so often take for granted. The more I thought about it, the more thankful I was to God for what was as well as what wasn’t. And with a ton of conviction bearing down on my soul, I knew that celebrating thankfulness just one day a year was not enough. Every day, every hour, every minute should be a time of thanksgiving — giving thanks to God for all he does for us.

As another year comes to a close, let’s not forget to be thankful the whole year through; after all, it’s cost-free, and, it’s the very least we should do.

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By Matt Clayton

Guest columnist

The writer, who resides in Sidney, is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.

The writer, who resides in Sidney, is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.