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Monday, December 2, 2019

Thankful … for the Above and Beyond

Thanksgiving time has become memorable for some unusual blessings for us. It happened on a snowy trip in the 1980s. A second round of good fortune came together in 2000. Now, we can add blessings of this year.

That first item came about after we visited my in-laws near Las Vegas at Thanksgiving time. En route home, we encountered a powerful snowstorm just a few miles out of Tonopah, Nevada. Despite my snow driving skills honed in Minnesota winters, I was out of my league. And not dressed for the occasion. With three young children and a concerned wife aboard, I was getting desperate not being able to tell where the road was. And virtually no traffic to help find my way.

Of course I prayed. Fear will force that upon you even if you weren’t in the mood.

Then, seemingly out of nowhere, I saw faint red lights off in the distance. Cautiously but optimistically, I sped up until I was only about ten car lengths behind a semi. How that driver could see I have no idea. Another ten miles and the storm subsided and the roads improved with the change of elevation. The truck was my saving grace.

Our second season-specific blessing happened during the first Thanksgiving in our home in Flossmoor, Illinois. Our son and daughter-in-law were set to come visit us from Pittsburgh—something my wife was greatly anticipating.
Wednesday night prior to the big feast, we received a call from our son explaining how his car had broken down on his way home from work. There were no repair shops open. And he was too young to rent a vehicle. We were out of options.

I did what a desperate dad would do. I called my best friend in Pittsburgh and explained the dilemma. Calmly, he described his solution. He would loan Marshall HIS car at no charge to make the weekend journey. What a blessing!

But wait! Thanksgiving day as we waited the arrival of the Chicago bound couple, our oven caught fire! And the blessing of a quick fire department fully dressed in gear came to our rescue. Miraculously, the meal came together and the festivities were most memorable.

That brings us to this year. A few days ago, our furnace began acting up. Just some intermittent clicking and a failure to start properly. We thought we would wait until after the holidays. Bad idea.

Fortunately, we bought a Trane unit from a reputable dealer—the Air Guys. We called on Thanksgiving Eve to say we were without heat. The company principal, Alfredo, drove from near downtown Chicago to our Plainfield home. He explained it was a simple maintenance issue and it was fixed within minutes. He asked about our family in ways that either tested his memory or some well-kept notes. And then he left, charging us—nothing! Who does that?!

To add frosting to the the blessing cake (or pie, as it turns out), another friend made our Thanksgiving a bit more tasty. For several years, I interviewed the head of a ministry based in Texas on issues related to troubled teens. As a way of showing appreciation, the ministry would send me a delicious pecan pie packed carefully in a wooden box.

Since my radio days seem to have ended, I felt a little sad about not getting this anticipated treat. But, behold! My friend in Texas asked for my home address via Facebook. And a few days later, my favorite pie arrived! Another Thanksgiving blessing. Undeserved, but given by a generous heart.

We always have so much for which to be thankful. And especially in this season, I’m grateful for those who are willing to serve beyond the call.

That’s Forward Thinking. Click on the link to the right to connect via Facebook.

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