Charles Shultz, the famous creator of Charlie Brown and the “Peanuts” cartoon strip, once gave an interview saying he wished he had allowed Charlie to finally kick the football. He said he regretted that Charlie never had a chance to fulfill his dream of kicking the ball that Lucy always pulled away from him at the last second. Interesting.
I’ve been giving that idea some thought as Lisa and I prepare to travel home for the Thanksgiving holiday where we will be spending a week with our family and friends. I can’t remember the last time I looked so forward to Thanksgiving and Lisa and I both have never been as excited to spend a week at home. In our lives – we tend to take practically every good thing for granted. Good things become so commonplace that the bad things that happen seem exaggerated and the blessings and comforts of life – hardly recognized. That is until they are gone. The holidays of our past were often met with a “who cares” sort of attitude as we were. for most of our life, home and in constant contact with our children and family. Now our time at home is so infrequent that we cherish every minute and moment we are there.
The irony to all this is that our understanding of how precious our family and friends are required we be gone for months at a time. We had to lose our time with family in order to appreciate time with family. Perhaps that speaks as much to our sorry state as human beings and the tendency to make the old proverb true: ‘familiarity breeds contempt’ as it does to anything else. But, whatever the reason, we certainly love home more now than ever.
So, this Thanksgiving I am trying something new. I am deliberately being thankful for the things I don’t have. As strange as that sounds, it is important to realize that God, in His wisdom, always leaves us wanting more. And that is a really good thing. Think about it. Food always tastes better when you are really hungry, a warm coat feels warmer when you are really cold, a soft bed feels better when you are really tired. As I have written about recently, this new RV that Lisa and I are now enjoying has been even more appreciated because of the two and half years we spent in one almost half the size. I am thankful for those years and that old RV – now more than ever. I am more thankful for food when I am hungry – more thankful for warmth when I’m cold. Looking around my life I can name hundreds of things I do not have. I am thankful for every one of those things.
I suppose winning the lottery would be a wonderful thing. There would be nothing that you could not buy or own. But, on the other hand, it may be the worst thing that could ever happen. There would be nothing else to dream about. Eric Liddell, the famous Olympian featured in the movie “Chariots of Fire”, was once asked what it would mean to achieve his goal of winning a gold medal. Very astutely he responded that it was the greatest fear of his life. As he explained it, everything he had trained for and sacrificed in his life – would have been achieved. What would be left for him?
This Thanksgiving I am thankful for all the things Lisa and I do not have. I am thankful for the times we are away from home and miss our family. I am thankful for the things we dream of but have yet to achieve. And I am thankful that Charlie Brown never kicked that football. I just hope he never quits trying.
Happy Thanksgiving! We will be home soon. Love Steve and Lisa