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Nope. Not Thankful

(originally posted 

November 11, 2012)

I read an article the other day about a family in New Jersey whose home was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. The husband, wife and 13 year old daughter’s house had flooded during the night, causing them to flee to the attic to escape the rising water. Eventually the house was hit by a strong surge of water that tore it apart and sent the family into the midst of the storm where they were separated and fought for their lives throughout the night. The next morning, the wife was rescued and hospitalized with life-threatening injuries.

She was the lucky one.

The husband and 13 year old daughter were later found. Dead. Buried in debris from the storm.

Can you imagine being that woman? Waking up in the hospital after living through the nightmare of the storm, to discover that your husband and daughter were dead. Dead. Gone forever…

Just think about that for a second.

I have a friend whose 12 year old daughter just went in for brain surgery a couple months ago. She survived the surgery, but they weren’t able to remove all of the tumor, and she will likely be facing another surgery, not to mention another round of chemo/radiation. Her little girl has a ticking time bomb living in her head.

I try to imagine what she must be going through. How she puts on a happy face for her little girl. Anyone that’s a parent knows the indescribable love you have for your children. It’s almost irrational sometimes. The desire to protect them and keep them from harm, knowing you would sacrifice yourself for their safety without a moment’s hesitation. How do you watch your child be ravaged by a disease… watch them fight a battle for their lives? I just cannot comprehend what this must be like for her.

I got a tiny glimpse of this nightmare my friend is living a couple years ago when my daughter suffered a concussion, that led to an uncontrollable seizure that forced the neurologists to put her in an induced coma. My husband and I had a conversation with the doctors that night, where they matter-of-factly informed us there was the very real possibility she would never wake up from this. And if she did, she might have severe brain damage, etc… It was incomprehensible conversation for me. I was filled with an immense, indescribable and crippling fear. I was terrified and begged God to save my baby.

He listened.

She woke up the next morning with no recollection of the accident, and has been perfect ever since.

Today I spoke with a gentleman who fought in Vietnam, and watched four of his buddies die in one day. Watched it. Witnessed it. And lived to tell about it 40 years later.

We’ve all seen the “thankful” Facebook posts this month. “Day 1: I’m thankful for my awesome horses…” “Day 2: I’m thankful for my family… or chocolate cupcakes… or extra strong hold hairspray…etc…”.

Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s great and I am right there with you. Last year, one of my “thankful” posts was about my truck’s heated steering wheel, so I feel you.

The thing that struck me this year is that I don’t think I really know what it means to be thankful. I don’t think I know what it REALLY feels like to be thankful for something.

If it means I have to survive a night in a hurricane fighting for my life while my family loses theirs to be thankful for family, or witness my child be ravaged by a disease to be thankful for health, or witness the horrors of war to be thankful for my freedoms. No thank you.

I don’t know what it means to be truly thankful. And I’m not ashamed to say I hope I never do.

Until next time ~ Jess


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