Last night we watched a documentary on the dustbowl. There is nothing like a documentary on the dustbowl to make you thankful– I wonder if they planned it that way? To see how people continued to persevere despite all the hardships they faced was encouraging. I cannot imagine having dust storms bring in 3 feet of dust onto my house in a matter of hours. The thought of having to dig out fencelines from the dust on a regular basis was mind boggling.
One woman recollecting said that as a little girl, she just thought everything and everyone was brown. She grew up in a brown world– a world covered and infiltrated in brown dust.
My 90 year old father was watching the documentary with me (it was his idea actually!) and he could remember the dust bowl– burning the piles of tumbleweeds that got collected on our fence by the farm, the WPA workers coming out in winter to dig out the giant drift east of the farm one winter, and the grasshoppers who came a year or two after the drought was over.
Its good to see things like documentaries on the dustbowl, because it reminds us that we probably don’t have it so bad. We have a lot to be thankful for. Again, last night, we went to eat here in Aurora where my father lives, and we ran into an older couple we know. The wife told us that their daughter and her husband were about to celebrate their 10th anniversary friday, and that they’d recently taken in her brothers teenagers who he couldn’t care for, but that now at 38 she found she had cancer and would die soon. How hard it would be to be thankful in that situation. But hearing about it, made me especially thankful for my wife and father and family, and health, and sunshine.
It is easy to be thankful when you have plenty. But it seems like its also easy to be ungrateful when you have plenty and have it easy. In the Bible, being thankful is not just a passive response to situations, it is commanded. Being commanded, it is something that we choose– an attitude of response, like hoping for the best, or being positive instead of negative, or being helpful, not an idler.
Its always with our lives of relative lives of ease to find things to be thankful for– usually they are just things that we like. But thankfulness is an attitude of choice and response in the face of things we maybe do not like so much as well.
I am thankful today. I will be thankful today.
May God have mercy on us all.