by Chad Morris
1 - I had no idea. Maybe I’d heard the story before and I was just too young to realize what it meant—but this time I got it. My grandpa had run out. He packed up and left my grandma with two small kids and a heart condition. My dad grew up without a dad, and later, with a stepdad who seemed to always remember the “step.” But that’s not what hit me. Maybe my dad made himself promises of how he would be if he ever became a father. I don’t know if he vowed that he would tickle and tackle his kids, play ball with them in the backyard, stay up way too late talking, and teach them to shape up and take responsibility. . . but if he did, he came through. It hit me that despite his background, I have a fantastic dad.
2 - I sat in a house smaller than my bedroom at home. A bed, a fridge, a sink, and a small couch were all crammed into the space. A person could barely walk between them if they turned sideways. The young Brazilian mother apologized again that her house was so small. Her husband stood so that my missionary companion and I could both sit. I told her that I didn’t mind at all. And I didn’t. I was glad to hear her husband had found work for that day, so they would have dinner—much better than yesterday. My heart seemed to grow. I had so much. I promised them that if they trusted in God, He would take care of them. They trusted me. They trusted Him. And I felt grateful all over again.
3 - For a split second I didn’t realize that we had lost control. I thought maybe my friend was just changing lanes on the icy Colorado freeway. We slid across three lanes and careened into the cement barrier that separated the two directions of traffic. We hit hard. Thank heaven for seatbelts.
My friend complained that she had a pain in her leg so I got out of the car to come around and check on her. I heard a smack. I turned to see two cars spinning out of control toward me. I know this sounds terribly dramatic, and it was, but it is also true. I didn’t see my life flash before me. I didn’t think of all my regrets. The only clear thought I had was “move.” I jumped aside and thought I could feel the breeze from the cars passing by me.
After an ambulance ride with my injured friend, and a few hours in a hospital, I allowed myself to relax a little. I was still alive. I would get a chance to . . . to try to do the things I’d been preparing for. I was alive to try and finish college. Hopefully I’d get married. And maybe I’d make something of myself. But I had the chance. I was very grateful just to have the chance.
4 - I stared at my brother-in-law, his body rotating on a mechanical bed in the critical condition arm of the hospital. He had been unconscious for days—comatose. Tubes went in and out of him. One wire monitored the swelling in his brain. I told him things like “hang in there,” “we’re all praying for you,” and “Happy Thanksgiving.” I had no idea if he could hear me. On my way out, I passed a room where another family was all weeping. Somehow I knew the person they were hoping for didn’t make it. I was grateful I still had hope that he could recover. I felt grateful for all the many people I loved who were just fine.
A few months later, when he had recovered faster than anyone seemed to predict, gratitude hit me again.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone.