A Big Dose of Thanksgiving Reality
I have a 14 week streak going of walking at least 20 miles a week. I needed 5 miles today to extend the streak to 15 weeks. So I’d planned to drive to Seward Park and do a couple of laps which would give me the 5 miles. Before I left, Ed came in with a letter he wanted mailed. There’s a mailbox on the way to Seward so no problem. But, and you have to love this logic, I didn’t want to have to get out of the car to put the envelope in the mailbox so decided to walk to Seward instead! Depending on what I decide to do, that could add a LOT to the walk. So off I go. Didn’t get very far when I realized that I hadn’t factored in the wind when deciding what to wear. But knew that if I just kept going I’d warm up with the exercising and I’d be okay. I get to Seward and start doing my laps. I look up at a tree that in the past had always had an eagle sitting high up in its branches, but rarely does anymore. The Lord put an eagle up there so I stopped for a little bit to just enjoy his majesty! Seward Park is surrounded on 3 sides by Lake Washington. It’s amazing how different the weather is as you head around that loop! At one point the wind was smacking me right in the face. Made it around the first lap. Now at this point if I’d headed home I would have walked 8.5 miles. But hey, why not do another lap! The Lord kept the eagle there so once again I stopped to take in the sight.  This time around when I hit the windy spot it’s intensity had really increased. It chilled me down to my old bones! So what do I do? Start texting one of my daughters to complain about the wind chill. It was mid-text when the Lord stopped me in my tracks. He’d brought me to that exact spot at that exact time so that I could see the “homeless man of Seward Park.” If anyone spends much time at Seward, chances are they’ve seen him. I’ve seen him in some of the hottest weather in summer, in the pouring rain, and now in bitter cold (and yes, that means I’ve walked there under those conditions but...that was by choice!). I’ve heard him referred to, with disdain, as a bum. How did this man get to this point? I had to wonder. You don’t wake up one morning and say “Hey! I think I’ll be come a bum and go walk around Seward Park with everything I own on my back.” When his mother found out she was pregnant, was she happy? Did his Dad “pass out cigars” at work when he was born? Or did his Mom panic when she found out she was going to have a baby? Did his Dad walk out on his Mom when he got the news? Did he do well in grade school? Did he get in with the wrong crowd in high school and get hooked on drugs? Did anyone care enough to try to help him beat this addiction? Or are there demons in his head that keep him from being able to hold down a job? Did he ever have a job? Did he ever have a home? Does he have a family? Do they know where he is? Are his parents grieving because he left home one day and never came back? What IS his story? I’ve tried saying hi to him a couple of times but he keeps his head down and doesn’t respond. Has he responded to people in the past only to have them make fun of him? Or is he just so unused to having anyone acknowledge his presence at all that he doesn’t know how to respond? Has anyone ever showed him any kindness at all? I was listening to the news yesterday. A reporter was at a food bank, talking to those who were heading in and out. One woman really stood out. The reporter said that she was better dressed than he was! Last year she’d come to the food bank with a donation. If you’d told her what this last year would bring she would have thought you were crazy. She had a great job (I think she said executive secretary), no worries, no problems. This year she went to the food bank on her way home from a job interview. She’d been laid off. Her problem now? Every job she applies for, there are 150-200 others trying just as hard to get the job. She asked how she’s supposed to stand out with competition like that? She came expecting maybe a potato and a couple of pieces of fruit. She got a box full and was so thankful you could hear it in her voice! Our world is ever changing. The fine line between living the good life and being homeless is getting more and more blurred. People are finding themselves out on the streets who could never, ever have imagined that something like that could ever have happened! So as you sit down at your Thanksgiving feast this year, surrounded by family and/or friends, remember all those who don’t even have a roof over their head anymore. Remember those living under overpasses, in doorways, trying to find one little piece of earth to call their own, some place where they can be warm and feel safe. We are so very blessed! The Lord showers us with tremendous blessings and how do we respond? We complain about everything! We take it for granted! We load up our plates with greed in our eyes only to throw so much of it away. Oh how ungrateful we are! Oh how we take everything for granted! We should be down on our knees constantly thanking the Lord not only for our temporal blessings, which are beyond bountiful, but most of all for our spiritual blessings! For our very salvation! Christ lived life in our place, suffered an eternity of hell in our place, died the death we deserved, and places all that on our account and takes all our sins and puts them on His account. And He gives us the very faith to believe it! THANK YOU, LORD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 


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