Thanksgiving Thorns…

Posted: November 26, 2013 in Podcasts, Stories, Wandering Thoughts
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imagesCAMW6J44Can you believe that Thanksgiving is only two days  away?  It feels like this year has just zipped by. Thinking about Thanksgiving reminded me of a story that i had read some time ago. It’s a great story. This will also be my last post until next Monday at which time I will be sharing about what I call “Impression Management.”

A customer named, Jenny, stopped in a local florist shop to buy an arrangement for thanksgiving. She had no idea what she wanted and she really did not feel like celebrating thanksgiving as there were so many tragedies in her life lately that being thankful was the furthest thing on her mind.  In the fourth month of her second pregnancy, a minor automobile accident stole her ease. During this Thanksgiving week she would have delivered a son. She grieved over her loss. As if that weren’t enough, her husband’s company threatened a transfer. Then her sister, whose holiday visit she coveted, called saying she could not come. What’s worse, Sandra’s friend infuriated her by suggesting her grief was a God-given path to maturity that would allow her to empathize with others who suffer. “Had she lost a child? No – she has no idea what I’m feeling,” Sandra shuddered. Thanksgiving? “Thankful for what?” she wondered. For a careless driver whose truck was hardly scratched when he rear-ended her? For an airbag that saved her life but took that of her child?

“Good afternoon, can I help you?” The flower shop clerk’s approach startled her. “Sorry,” said Jenny, “I just didn’t want you to think I was ignoring you.” “I . . . . I need an arrangement.” “For Thanksgiving?” Sandra nodded. “Do you want beautiful but ordinary, or would you like to challenge the day with a customer favorite I call the ‘Thanksgiving Special’?” Jenny saw Sandra’s curiosity and continued. “I’m convinced that flowers tell stories, that each arrangement insinuates a particular feeling. Are you looking for something that conveys gratitude this Thanksgiving?” “Not exactly!” Sandra blurted. “Sorry, but in the last five months, everything that could go wrong has.”

Sandra regretted her outburst but was surprised when Jenny said, “I have the perfect arrangement for you.” The door’s small bell suddenly rang. “Barbara, hi!” Jenny said. She politely excused herself from Sandra and walked toward a small workroom. She quickly reappeared carrying a massive arrangement of green bows, and long-stemmed thorny roses. Only, the ends of the rose stems were neatly snipped, no flowers. “Want this in a box?” Jenny asked. Sandra watched for Barbara’s response. Was this a joke? Who would want rose stems and no flowers! She waited for laughter, for someone to notice the absence of flowers atop the thorny stems, but neither woman did. “Yes, please. It’s exquisite.” said Barbara. “You’d think after three years of getting the special, I’d not be so moved by its significance, but it’s happening again. My family will love this one. Thanks.”

As the customer left Jenny asked the florist about the significance of that particular arrangement. The florist explained that that was the Thanksgiving special. Jenny could not believe anyone would pay for that. “Well,” she continued, “Barbara came into the shop three years ago feeling very much like you feel today. She thought she had very little to be thankful for. She had lost her father to cancer, the family business was failing, her son was into drugs, and she faced major surgery.” “Ouch!” said Sandra. “That same year, I lost my husband. I assumed complete responsibility for the shop and for the first time, spent the holidays alone. I had no children, no husband, no family nearby, and too great a debt to allow any travel.” “What did you do?” “I learned to be thankful for thorns.” Sandra’s eyebrows lifted. “Thorns?”

“I’m a Christian, Sandra. I’ve always thanked God for good things in life and I never thought to ask Him why good things happened to me. But, when bad stuff hit, did I ever ask! It took time to learn that dark times are important. I always enjoyed the flowers of life but it took thorns to show me the beauty of God’s comfort. You know, the Bible says that God comforts us when we’re afflicted and from His consolation we learn to comfort others.” Sandra gasped. “A friend read that passage to me and I was furious! I guess the truth is, I don’t want comfort. I’ve lost a baby and I’m angry with God.”

With that Jenny ordered her own  Thanksgiving Thorn Bouquet with a pledge to work on healing her heart. With that the florist encouraged her and said the first years arrangement is always free.

What a great story! It portrays so many things that i can be thankful for because it all makes me who I am today.

-Author Unknown

Before i close i have to share a personal experience from yesterday. As i arrived at the Onething Campus i prayed and said that i would be happy if just one of the churches would have paid there rent early. It’s actually due on Wednesday but things are a little tight. As i unlocked the drop box i saw a check folded up on the bottom of the box.  i was so delighted! Thank you God!! i reached in with great anticipation and unfolded it, literally, thanking God again as i did. i looked at the check… (pause) and i thought really…? The check was from our smallest renter. i was looking for a much bigger check than this one. In fact this one does not help at all. i realized that suddenly i wasn’t quite as thankful. Got what I asked for but not what i intended. my bad!

In closing 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says,“ed, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” It is my plan to purchase my own bouquet of thorns and put them in a prominent place where i will be reminded to give thanks in all circumstances.

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