When I was younger, so much younger than today, I planned never to marry, but if I did, I promised myself that I’d never have children. Never, ever, ever. I wanted my freedom—freedom from responsibility of any kind. I’d wipe no runny noses, change no diapers, and worry about no one but me. I’d be my own woman, sufficient unto myself.
As I survey my Thanksgiving table in this year of our Lord 2013, I thank you, Lord, for my husband, my sons, and a family that loves me unconditionally. Never am I forced to walk life’s paths alone, even though I once thought I wanted to. For providing me with what I needed, not what I wanted, I thank you.
In my youth I rushed away from my small home town where ancient oaks lined the streets and people knew not only my name, but my parents’ and grandparents’ names as well. These people watched for 18 years as I grew from a baby in the stroller that Daddy pushed around town every afternoon into a fiercely independent young lady. I could hardly wait to leave those peaceful, quiet streets for the big city lights and anonymity. At full speed I ran, seeking my escape.
And yet today, I thank you, Lord, for this small community that I call home, nestled here in the flatlands of South Georgia. I roamed far and followed a wildly meandering path to get back to my roots. My friends live here, too, down the road and across town—everyone as near as a phone call or a Facebook message. Every street leads to a friendly face, a kind word, and when I need it, a helping hand.
All those years ago, Lord, when I so idealized the nursing profession and longed for the white cap and sharp white uniforms, you knew better. Ever so gently you steered me toward teaching, a career which I loved and through which I made a difference. I left school every day tired and often frustrated, but never once in 34 years did I find my job boring. Thank you, for wisdom and guidance when I strayed.
Thank you, Lord, for putting good people in my life to show me the way. In my youthful ignorance, I saw people as basically selfish, caring not one iota for others. However, as I lived my life day by day, I encountered so many selfless, fine people who proclaimed their faith with their actions, not their words. Alfred Baxley was one of those people. Every day he lived his life as a shining example for the rest of us. He worked at an humble job, yet he did it to the best of his ability and never complained. Everyone who worked with him knew his word was good. He treated students, teachers, and co-workers with respect and dignity. I feel honored to have known and worked with him for several years. Thank you, Lord, for blessing my life with this good man and so many others like him.
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