Such an obvious Thanksgiving post here. But probably like you, I’ve thought a little more this week about what I’m thankful for.
Last Friday evening I was grumbling under my breath as I finished a slow day at my golf cart tour guiding job and started to vacuum out my car to get it ready for what I planned would be a long night of driving for Uber (which it turned out to be). With colder weather coming in, I was sad about a job I like so much slowing down. I was worried about finances. I was tired. I was anxious for this reason and that reason. Yes, I briefly prayed about what I was thinking about, but I quickly got distracted with my worrying again and whatever else was at hand (or on the radio) to actually finish the prayer. My night continued on and sort of faded into the past as I eventually went home after work at 2 or 3 AM and went to sleep. Another day, another dollar.
That was my last Friday night. While I was vacuuming my car, a terrible tragedy happened in Sumner County just down the road from where my wife and kids were hanging out at the house. A car with teenagers veered off the road and the 16 year old in the backseat lost his life later that night. I didn’t know this boy, but we go to the same church as his family does, so lots of people I know knew him. It goes without saying that his parents had the worst Friday night anybody can imagine. I can’t imagine. I don’t want to. My heart hurts terribly every time it crosses my mind and I’m just a guy who doesn’t actually know these people. By all accounts the young man was an incredible christian teen who was very beloved by all who knew him. Doesn’t make it any easier though… I mean, I guess it doesn’t. I don’t know because the things I was worried about last Friday night were trivial and incredibly minor in comparison to the real life, gut-wrenching, ask God “why?” kind of stuff that other folks are facing.
All I had to do was hear that news and it was easy realize how blessed I am to have my family close and to have the life I have this Thanksgiving. To put it simply- I played with my 3-year old son a little longer than I normally would have every single time he asked me to this week. I held on to and made my nearly 1-year old daughter giggle a few more times this week than I did last week. I complained less. I worried a lot less. I prayed a lot more without distraction. I smiled a few more times than I did last week. I hugged my wife a few more times and actually held on a few seconds longer than usual when we are going though our day. I was going to work for Uber tonight, but I stayed home instead and watched a sappy show with my wife on the couch after the kids went to bed. Before the kids went to bed, we ate cookies. We laughed. We listened to Christmas music. I strummed my favorite guitar later after everyone went to sleep. I thought about how much I still love Nashville and I’m so glad I came to TN when I didn’t know anybody here. I got to play a 4 hour gig last night for lots of really nice, enthusiastic people who liked our music. They want us back! I have amazing friends. One of those friends played mine and Amy’s song on the radio today and people seem to like the project that we (my band, my wife, and more) worked SO hard on for the last year. Wow, come to think of it, we’ve got it made.
I actual replaced a leaky faucet today, which is a miracle that I did something that represented plumbing and it was successful. I didn’t get mad when I was working on it either… which is an even bigger miracle! Instead of running off that same 3-year old, Avery, and telling him that I need to focus on the task at hand, I asked him to help me. I pretended and told him that he was actually helping me as he drug out all the tools I didn’t need from my toolbox and made a huge mess (then climbed on me multiple times as I was trying to reach under the bathroom counter). After “we” got it fixed, he proudly proclaimed that he was a “fixer boy” and confidently asked if I needed anything else fixed. I looked around at our busy, crawling, then smiling baby Aria, I saw my beautiful wife, Amy making Christmas ornaments at our kitchen table, then I looked back at my little man who was still looking at me awaiting an answer. I fought back tears and said “I think we are good now. You fixed it.”
Happy Thanksgiving from the Pope family.