This Thanksgiving, as with many others, I have much for which to be grateful.
For friends and family who have loved me unconditionally. For countless undeserved blessings that have enriched my days. And for thorns and suffering that have taught me to lean on Jesus. They have all been gifts.
The following narrative was emailed to me many years ago, and has lingered in my mind ever since. I hope this blesses you as much as it blessed me.
Thorns to You!
Sandra felt as low as the heels of her Birkenstocks as she pushed against a November gust and the florist shop door. Her life had been easy, like a spring breeze. Then in the fourth month of her second pregnancy, a minor automobile accident stole her ease. During this Thanksgiving week she would have delivered a son. She grieved over her loss.
As if that weren’t enough her husband’s company threatened a transfer. Then her sister, whose holiday visit she coveted, called saying she could not come. What’s worse, Sandra’s friend infuriated her by suggesting her grief was a God-given path to maturity that would allow her to empathize with others who suffer? “Had she lost a child? No-she has no idea what I’m feeling,” Sandra shuddered.
‘Thanksgiving? Thankful for what?’ she wondered. ‘For a careless driver whose truck was hardly scratched when he rear-ended her? For an air bag that saved her life but took that of her child?’
“Good afternoon, can I help you?” The flower shop clerk’s approach startled her. “Sorry,” said Jenny, “I just didn’t want you to think I was ignoring you.”
“I….I need an arrangement.”
“Do you want beautiful but ordinary, or would you like to challenge the day with a customer favorite I call the “Thanksgiving Special.” Jenny saw Sandra’s curiosity and continued. “I’m convinced that flowers tell stories, that each arrangement insinuates a particular feeling. Are you looking for something that conveys gratitude this Thanksgiving?”
“Not exactly!” Sandra blurted. “Sorry, but in the last five months, everything that could go wrong has.”
Sandra regretted her outburst but was surprised when Jenny said, “I have the perfect arrangement for you.” The door to the shop once again opened.
“Hi Barbara!” Jenny called. She politely excused herself from Sandra and walked toward a small workroom. She quickly reappeared carrying a massive arrangement of greenery, bows, and long-stemmed thorny roses. Only, the ends of the rose stems were neatly snipped, no flowers.
“Want this in a box?” Jenny asked. Sandra watched for Barbara’s response. Was this a joke? Who would want rose stems and no flowers! She waited for laughter, for someone to notice the absence of flowers atop the thorny stems, but neither woman did.