The Thankful Chair ~ Anchored In Him  



"I have so much to be thankful for. I wouldn't know where to begin," she said.
I wouldn't know either. As I looked around her home I couldn't find a thing that she could include.
I have discovered that the friendliest, most welcoming people in the world are those who have little to offer. What they lack in possessions they make up for in spirit and love.

I had been working for the Commission on Economic Opportunity. It was the year following the flood. My job was to interview low income families and assess their needs. Up until that moment I thought I had seen it all. The odd thing was I was looking at nothing at all and this woman was thankful.

The home had actually been out of the flood area, yet it looked like it had been a part of the destruction. The front porch steps were missing, replaced by a few cinder blocks and planks. There were several broken windows and part of the foundation had caved in exposing the basement to the weather. That particular day it was in the upper thirties with a heavy wind blowing snow from the west.

Thanksgiving Day was approaching and quite frankly my heart was not into doing these surveys. Like many others, I just wanted to start my holiday early. This was the last stop for me. Tomorrow like millions of other families we would be snuggled around the table filling ourselves to capacity. Oddly I hadn't even thought about what this family was looking forward to. I just figured they would be taken care of by some organization or church. I looked around the kitchen for some sign of a charitable box of goodies but saw nothing there.

The house was bitter cold. The young children ran several times through the kitchen playing, laughing like any other child. I happened to notice that they were bare foot on this cold linoleum floor. At one point I said to one of the youngest girls, "You should go put your socks and shoes on before you get sick." She replied, "Mommy did this man bring me some shoes I can wear?" "No, Sissy. He didn't. Go put on a pair of mine. He's right you need something on your feet."

I was embarrassed for having put her in that position. "Well, I'm finished here. Thank you for your time. I hope you have a wonderful . . . ." I didn't know what to say.

How could they possibly have a wonderful anything. "Look, I'm sorry. I know there must not be much to be thankful for these days," I said nervously.

"Well, you certainly are wrong about that!" she said emphatically. Then rising to her feet she walked into the living room and stood in the middle. "My dear, I am truly blessed for all of this. I know it doesn't look like much. But who made the rules that say that we can only be thankful for things that cost money?" she said.

"Sit here on this chair," she told me. "That chair may be worthless even to a junk dealer. But I sat in that chair and waited for months when my son was in the Vietnam War. That was my worry chair. I sat in that chair, prayed and gave thanks when the good Lord brought him safely home to me.

It was in that same chair I was sitting in when they announced that John F. Kennedy was dead. I wept in that chair. It was in that same chair I was sitting when my daughter came home from school and told me she was going to college cause she got a full scholarship. It was my joyful chair. It was also in that chair that I sat holding my Daddy's hand when he died. They had sent him home telling us there was nothing more they could do. He wanted to be at home. I ate, slept and cried as I sat in that chair holding his hand. He was all the world to me when I was growing up. I owed him that much. So how much is that chair worth in dollars? Nothing. But I wouldn't trade it," she said.

Then walking over to a picture on the wall she said "You see this man? He's my man. He's the man that has loved me for all these years. He's at work now. He doesn't make much but he works hard for it. He paid for that chair in sweat. How much money value do I put on him? There isn't enough money in all the world for the true value of love."

"Those kids out in the yard. Yeah, maybe someone would say I'm not a good parent. But you go and ask them if they love their Mommy and Daddy. Then tell me how much that is worth," she said.

Then walking closer to where I was seated she looked down at me and said, "I'm thankful for my sight, the touch of my baby's hand on my face. I am thankful that I have good health considering everything else. I am thankful for my faith. Oh, how thankful I am that I have something to believe in. I am thankful for the smell of hot biscuits and honey on Christmas morning. I am thankful for the second hand quilt the lady down the street gave me yesterday."

Then tilting her head and cupping her ear she said, "Listen .... do you hear that? That's laughter. My kids are laughing as they are playing with all the other kids in the neighborhood. How much would you pay to find something to laugh about when things aren't so good?"

Grabbing my briefcase, I stood up and walked toward her.
"So my dear. Should I go on? There is so much more I am thankful for that most people take for granted."
"No." I said. "Thank you."
"Oh sir," she said. "One more thing."
She walked over to the chair and sat down.
"I call this my "Thankful Chair". Tomorrow when we gather round the table to share whatever meal God will provide, and He always provides, I will be thankful that He had sent you here to talk to me," she said smiling.
"I believe that one day I will find that priceless," I said and walked out the door.
I was right.

Bob Perks "I believe in You!"
Used with permission © Bob Perks.
A special thanks to Bob Perks for use
of his poetry. You may visit Bob's site
at Bob's Story Site.

Father as we come to you in prayer, forgive us where we have failed you. As a sinful nation we ask that you forgive us, You continue to bless us and we are thankful for these blessings. We lift up those that are less fortunate and ask that You touch all of us that You have blessed generously that we give to them as You have us. Dear Lord be with the members of our Armed Forces and their families as they sacrifice so much for us as. Father may the Comforter be with the families who have lost a loved one in the war. Heavenly Father be with our missionaries throughout the world as the spread and preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. Bless them richly and as we come into the time of giving let us remember to give cheerfully. And Father let us remember that You gave the greatest sacrifice of all, Your one and only Son Jesus Christ. Father we thank You for all of the blessings that You have given us this past year and the ones that You will continue to give us in Jesus Holy name we pray.

As you think about the above story from Bob Perks how often do we take the worldly goods that money can buy us and forget to thank God for all of His blessings. Often we will only thank Him during a Sunday morning church service, during special occasions such as Thanksgiving, weddings and etc. Take time and set down and reflect back upon the past year and by that write down each month and think of the blessings of each month and jot them down. You will be surprised of how many blessings that God gave you and you did not even realize this. We all have a "Worry Chair" per se, members of our church family have members in the Armed Forces that are deployed in the fight against the Global War on Terrorism. I seriously doubt that there are none of us that do not know of a family that has not or does not have a loved one deployed. Remember the Armed Forces and their families are the backbone of our nation now and have been through out our history.
Today as we set down to a meal, remember that God's blessings are there for all of us and that the "Worry Chair" is also a prayer chair as well as "The Thankful chair". Those that are rich in spirit are also rich in love. Which are you rich in, worldly goods that money can buy or rich in spirit and love.

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