Patty LaRoche: Thankful for the Good and the Bad

My dear friend Frank responded to my Thanksgiving article in which I listed several things for which I am thankful. “Don’t forget good weather…and bad weather.” Simple message with a poignant prompt. I need to be thankful for everything because God many times uses the bad more powerfully than He does the good.

Then, this morning, my husband’s daily Baseball Chapel devotional, submitted by Arnie Knecht, titled “Thanksliving,” reminded me that this holiday wasn’t about a day of thanks; it was about a life of thanks. In Knecht’s words, “Thanksgiving is good. Thanksliving is better.” It is a lifestyle involving how we respond, knowing God “has saved us from a hopeless end and given us an endless hope.”

No matter what He uses to get us there.

Twelve of us were to share a Thanksgiving meal this year. We all are condominium owners in the same complex here in Mazatlan, Mexico, and over the years have become close friends. Deb and Jim offered their unit, and Deb led the charge in organizing things—including writing hysterical minutes when the women met to discuss the details. After all, it mattered whose oven had two shelves and whose had one, who owned a gravy boat and whose stuffing recipe was best. Jim purchased an additional table, and both were set a day ahead with linen cloths, fine china and crystal. Since Dave and I were the last two to arrive and were driving, we were given a list of grocery items the girls could not find in Mazatlan. Captain Deb was prepared for everything.

Except an emergency trip to the E.R. Thanksgiving morning. Deb had awakened her doctor-husband with severe abdominal pain. Because she was recovering from a recent car accident, Jim was concerned it was related. As they left for the hospital, we five wives met in Deb’s condo to create a Plan B for our late afternoon dinner.

Mary asked me to lead us in prayer for Deb and Jim. It was a precious moment of calming reassurance that we were sharing a special experience and gave us the teamwork attitude we needed. Sharon shifted recipe responsibilities as we assumed the duties originally assigned to Deb. Joyce offered her condo for the dinner, but Deb’s would still be the gathering place for much of the food preparation. Their units were ten floors apart but in the same wing, so the elevator became our best friend.

The men transported the second table, the extra chairs and all the place settings to Joyce’s condo, and we were in culinary business. What one couldn’t do, the other could. Sharon rolled out the pie crusts; Carolyn perfected the fluting before making a quick trip to the herb garden to pick fresh rosemary for the turkey. Three worked to skewer the turkey skin over the stuffing while another video’d the surgery. (Three chiefs, no Indians.) In between our assignment at Deb’s, we all returned to our own units to prepare our assigned dishes and then regrouped at Deb’s to make sure everything was covered. We spent the day laughing, cleaning up each other’s spills, comparing recipes and communing in sweet Thanksliving.

Deb’s trip to the hospital was not on our agenda, and when she returned home later that day, we all agreed that God had given us a treasured Thanksgiving memory. Had Deb not become ill, we all would have spent the day in our own condos preparing our dishes, our husbands would have watched football, and later we would have joined together for our meal.

Two days before Thanksgiving, Jim had asked my husband to say the prayer before our meal. Dave’s words were full of thanks, especially that Deb and Jim were home, and that God had done more than we ever expected.

He’s good at that, you know.

“Good weather…bad weather.” Thanksliving at its finest.

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