There is not a day in my life that goes by that I do not give thanks to the Lord. Whenever trials come my way, I pray. Our faithfulness to God is what makes us depend on His providence. It does not matter how grave the situation may become, when we depend on God He will see us through it. As I get older I find myself questioning life and whether I have lived up to God’s expectations. All I really want to hear is, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” I never feel that I have done enough for our Lord. Even at my age I want to continue to do more and draw closer to Him.
Our Thanksgiving this year will be the smallest we’ve ever had. Jenny, our daughter-in-law, and Maddie, our granddaughter, are traveling to Minnesota to support their family as they go through a family illness. That will not stop Mike from making the best Thanksgiving dinner with all the fixings. What Mike does is beyond our expectations. I am never allowed to enter into the kitchen while he is prepping. He is like an artist with his canvas, and the unveiling will take place at the dinner table. The turkey is brined overnight to enhance the tenderness. We will also feast on creamed corn (my favorite), sweet potato casserole, au gratin potatoes and green beans. We will not be serving salad this year because this is Jenny’s contribution to the meal and no one can match her salads. Both Jenny and Maddie will be missed, but I am overjoyed that they will be celebrating with her family; it’s been years since Jenny has been there for Thanksgiving.
During this time of year I always think of all the homeless people I have met throughout my 20 years of service on Skid Row. My prayers are always the same. “Lord protect them, help them to become the persons You have called them to be. Provide for them in every area of their lives, and keep them safe and warm.” My connection to them will always be in my heart. I am asking God how I can make myself available in helping with this crisis we have in our country, because so many homeless people and not enough help.
The crisis of homelessness affects all of us. We need to get the right kind of help to get this marginalized population to a new direction. From my experience, the majority of the homeless population has fallen through the cracks of society because we are helping them in the wrong way. The first and foremost problem is abandonment. This is a mental state of mind that needs psychological evaluation. I understand all the efforts that our government is doing to alleviate the problem; I’ve helped with many of these outreaches. The simple truth is this: the homeless need love. Many of them will receive a warm Thanksgiving meal but that’s just one meal! The rest of the year they will scramble for meals. Remember it was during COVID that we could no longer go to Skid Row. This was a message from God to help in other ways. I have since offered my services to a local church in providing supplies to furnish apartments for them. I did this from my heart. I received a $200 gift card from a dear friend, Bishop Mendez, who was spearheading the outreach. I headed to Walmart for pots and pans and other kitchen supplies. I blew through that money quickly. I waited until a local second hand store marked down their merchandise by half. I purchased plates, silverware and whatever else I could get ahold of with my own money. The beddings I purchased new because there is nothing fresher and more inviting than new linens and blankets. I look forward to helping with making the world a better place once this whole COVID thing is behind us.
Giving Thanks To God
In Genesis 8:20 we find that Noah gave thanks to God by building an altar to the Lord. This was a customary theme in the Word of God: thanksgiving to God and displaying reverence when their lives were spared, when they won a battle or were blessed. My husband Mike shared with me that each morning before getting out of bed, he gives thanks to God for a new day. He continues his petition with praying protection for our family. I, on the other hand, pray during the night and throughout the day. I thank God for all He has done in our lives, and I thank Him for His healing power over our minds and bodies. How can we celebrate Thanksgiving without paying homage to God, Who provides all things?
We are blessed to have our grown family living near us. We gather together on a regular basis for casual meals and many times take vacations together. We are a family whose core beliefs are in God. Not one family member is excluded from the sheepfold. Sometimes as one sheep escapes, we guide them back home through prayer. I was once a young parent, and I have full knowledge of the sacrifices a parent makes to keep the family from harm’s way. Our world has become more dangerous since we were parents, and the challenges are greater. I pray for all parents, that they not give in to the things of the world, because we are not of this world.
On Sunday at Mass we celebrated “Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe” and the Scripture reading was about his Kingship. When Pilate asked Jesus if he was King of the Jews, Jesus’ response was:
John 33:36-37 New American Bible Revised Edition
36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom does not belong to this world. If my kingdom did belong to this world, my attendants [would] be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not here.” 37 So Pilate said to him, “Then you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say I am a king. For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”
Dear Heavenly Father, we give You all the thanks for Your provisions. Bless Jenny and Maddie with traveling mercies and bring them back home safe. I pray for Your glory to shine on us all. Feed the hungry and clothe the poor but, most of all, allow them to feel Your holy presence. I lift up Bobbi and Amy; Lord, heal them. Amen.