Four years ago today Susan’s dad Neal came to live with us. It was an interesting, uplifting, and at times challenging journey for all.


Neal joined the Church Triumphant on October 11. It is my privilege to bear testimony to his faith and invite my readers to join me in following his example.


“…[G]ive thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you…” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).


“The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4: 5b,6).


One of the qualities I admired most about Susan’s late father Neal was his thankfulness. Even in his time of decline, when some days he barely said a word, he was always grateful. And for the smallest things. A glass of milk. Fresh figs from our backyard tree. Help with some personal task he could no longer do for himself.


You don’t just wake up one morning and become a person who lives with gratitude. Neal’s whole life was like that. He wasn’t greedy. He wasn’t fancy. His needs and wants were simple. And whatever he had and got was always a gift from “the good Lord,” as he consistently called God.


What if every day you and I gave thanks for the “little” things? Hot buttered grits, salted just right. Licks on the nose from a loyal dog. That first taste of morning coffee. Cute chickadees and barking wrens. Multi-tools. Warm woolen socks. A page-turner book that excites the imagination. Playful teasing and banter with spouse, family or friends. A smile, a hug, a twinkle in the eye from a loved one when the day hasn’t turned out very well. If we were to reflect a bit, all these are really the essence of life.


Imitate Neal. Be grateful every day. Let that be our commitment this Thanksgiving.


© 2008 Tom Cheatham