Moral Compass – from Chaplain (Colonel-Retired) Steven L. Berry

Thoughts at Thanksgiving

from Chaplain (Colonel-Retired) Steven L. Berry
Advisory Board, Hardrock Charlie Foundation

I have been thinking for several days about what I might write for Thanksgiving Day. The more I reflected about all for which I am thankful, the more overwhelmed I became. Honestly, most of my reflective thought was not about “stuff.” I confess that the material goodness that accompanies my days on the earth do, indeed, make daily living more comfortable; that is, good food to eat, a house, a warm, dry place to sleep, a car to drive, some money in the bank, more clothes than I can wear at one time. I do enjoy these things and this stuff. I do. There is nothing wrong with enjoying stuff, I think. But, shame on me if I cling to these things as if they will endure and, in so doing, will secure for me some position or station of importance, superiority, or prestige. Surely, all that stuff can all be gone before morning. Gone. Then what? In truth, I could be gone before morning. Then, as Jesus said, “Who’s shall these things be?”

So, what then? What remains for which I feel thankful? PLENTY! Largely, these are the things that cannot be grasped and held in my hands. Family and friends, some of whom I can touch and hold, but others who live distances away. The latter I must hold in my heart. Family and friends who have crossed over and who await me there. These, also, I hold in my heart and in my mind, where they still live vibrantly just as though they were still walking with me daily.

The great grace of God that comes to me in the life of Christ, the Redeemer. Surely, this hope cannot be held in my hand, but, like a Rock, it sustains me day-to-day through thick and thin.  Time well spent with books and music. Those people who have invested in me their time and energy with no guarantee of any return on those investments. Their poetry may never be written, save in my heart. People who believed in me when I had not the strength to believe in myself. My teachers who taught me to write these sentences and to read yours. And, oh, there is much more. So very much more!

This is, to me, all so overwhelming. My heart is full to bursting, and, sometimes, I feel that I cannot contain it, but neither can I express it adequately. In those moments, I wish I were a poet. With that in view, I will close this offering with the words of the hymn known in some circles as “The Old One-Hundredth” and in others as “The Doxology.” By either name, the lyrics capture in shorter form, the 100th Psalm:

“Praise God from Whom all blessings flow.
Praise Him, all creatures, here below.
Praise Him above, ye heavenly hosts.
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and to all in your patrol base…RLTW