Thanksgiving

Thursday, 22 Nov 2001

John 14:1-10
"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms, if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going."

Thomas said to him, "Lord, we don't know where you are going, so how can we know the way?"

Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him."

Philip said, "Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us."

Jesus answered: "Don't you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time?

"Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father'? Don't you believe that I am in the Father and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work."

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The Father, living in me, who is doing his work. How would I live each day without that? I mean, I could get up and try to breathe, and go through the motions of what looked like living, but what about real living? What about real Thanksgiving, especially today. Today is the day Phil LOVED! He was a turkey boy. Turkey and dressing! One year he even had it for his birthday! He didn't care if it was Stove Top or out of the turkey on Thanksgiving, he just had to have it, often! I wonder, why didn't he hang on until at least Thanksgiving? You know, as some people do, make it through the Holidays, and then go home...but he didn't. I thought maybe it was because he wasn't eating anyway, and then Jim said to me yesterday, "He wanted heaven more than he wanted turkey". Boy, that's for sure. Once he caught a glimpse of heaven, he longed for it. How can I blame him? I long for it and I haven't even seen it!

Yesterday the verse "Do not let your hearts be troubled" kept running through my mind. We had a busy day yesterday, finishing up Obituary papers, ordering Phil's grave marker and a number of other things, and this verse kept running through my mind. I thought of Thanksgiving, and everyone who would be celebrating today, and I know many of you will be thinking about us today, how we will make it through. To tell you the truth, I really don't know how we will do. It's still morning, and I haven't gotten a "wiff" of turkey cooking yet. That will be at my sister's house here in Pleasanton. But, I have a feeling that the thinking about it will be harder than the doing of it. When we do it, God carries us. When we think about it, we drown in our own sorrows. That's not what God intended. He said:

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Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with THANKSGIVING, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things.

Philippians 4:4-8

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"Think about such things"...I think about that. Should I be thinking about all the sad things that can cause tears to fall, or should I be thinking about all the good things, all the praiseworthy things, all the right things.....I think I should. Does it honor Phil to drum up misery? No! I told him we would be fine. I assured him of that. I told him we would miss him, but when I thought about missing him I would think about how good he feels, and I would be happy for him. That's what I told him....if I don't do that. If I drown in my sorrow, I have lied to my son. That would dishonor him, and he would not be happy to know that. Do I have a hole the size of the Grand Canyon in my gut, does my heart ache? Yes....it does! But am I thankful? Yes, I am. So very thankful. Thankful for the hope we have, thankful for the way Phil died, thankful for my wonderful sons, thankful for this day, that we can rejoice in the Lord and all his promises. Will I shed tears today, I imagine I will, but I hope they are a mixture of joy and sadness and missing and hope. I think they will be. Those we will be gathering with, also miss Philip. They will understand the tears, they will also understand the hope. Jim says it's like in the olden days when the Europeans set out across the ocean for the new land. When they said good-bye, they knew they would probably never see their family again. Maybe an occasional letter, but doubtful. The only thing they knew is that they were going to start a new life, in a new land, and that was a good thing. They didn't even know if they would be okay when they got there. Well, Phil has done the same. He has gone to a new life in a new "land", but we DO KNOW that he is okay. More than okay! That helps me breathe and that helps me get through each day without him, until I see him again. A friend told me that she had a dream about Phil and he was out in a beautiful, colorful field playing ball. He said, "I'm playing ball because I wasn't able to do that on earth". I have run that picture through my mind many, many times. It's little things like that that help a lot.

Today we will guard our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus. We will feel the peace which transcends all understanding, and we will give Thanks for God's abundance in our lives and the hope of one day living in the Father's house, where Christ has gone to prepare a room for us!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO YOU ALL! Rejoice! Again I say, rejoice!!

Love, The Shore Family