Friday, November 23, 2012

Thankful: a Matter of Perspective

I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving. (Psalm 69.30 ESV)
This was done by my good friend Tim who works at Val-Pak.
God has given him great talent!

Yesterday was our national day of Thanksgiving.  Some trivialize it by calling it turkey day- I abhor that practice.  For my family, it is not about turkey (in fact, I really wanted ham for dinner)- it is about being thankful to God for His many blessings.  I had hoped to have Thanksgiving off so our family could visit with friends in North Florida and celebrate with them.  However, I did not get the day off and our trip would not be taking place.  I was not thrilled about it, but at least I have a good job.

Yes, I was disappointed.  And it could have remained that way.

However, this year I gained a new perspective.  On November 5, 2012 I came down with some sort of sickness.  At the time I did not know what it was.  On November 7th I went to work only to be sent back home with a fever.

Over the next two weeks I was out of work, visiting the doctor, getting x-rays, taking medicine and trying to recover.  I was diagnosed with pneumonia.  Yes, pneumonia, my old 'friend.'  I tend to get it every few years.  Bah.  This time it was worse than normal.  

Two weeks of lying on the sofa, battling fever and chills, coughing and not sleeping.  It was not fun.

Finally, I was given clearance by my doctor to return to work on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.  I worked Wednesday and Thursday.  We were unusually busy and there were multiple instances in which people required restraints (I work in a hospital ER- I am in the psych ER, but help in the ER when necessary).  It was a very busy two days.  Physically demanding at times.  Definitely mentally demanding.

It was still a wonderful Thanksgiving.  The disappointment of working on Thanksgiving became a joy to work on Thanksgiving!  My health is almost back to normal and I was able to do everything my job required.  Compassion came easier.  Busy times were not a chore, but a pleasure.  I was extremely thankful to be at work.  

My perspective changed.  Instead of resenting a work day on Thanksgiving, I was gladly working.  It was much better than the alternative I faced for two weeks prior.  

It was a lesson learned.  Thank you Lord for your many blessings- even the ones I do not recognize right away!

Pete Garbacki is a minister with Time for Truth Ministries and Mission.Brasil. Follow him on Twitter @mission_brasil or FaceBook at

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