The word “gratitude” is often associated with the spirit of Thanksgiving; it is synonymous with a season known for its generosity and benevolence. Whether you are in the loving presence of family or friends, or even happy strangers, learning to appreciate one’s blessings in life should not merely be restricted to a few hours of satisfaction after gorging on Thanksgiving turkey and all the fixings. Having the humility to express thankfulness must be embodied in a person’s words, actions, attitude and approach to the zest of life.
God has enabled me and my wonderful mother to leave London, England to the shores of Carlsbad, California and the bustle of Atlanta primarily for rehabilitation after sustaining what the enemy wanted to be, a catastrophic spinal cord injury. Hydrotherapy has become a weekly pleasure in my physical therapy schedule at Shepherd Center, Atlanta, Georgia. Being immersed in the water gives me an overwhelming sense of serenity that is difficult to comprehend. Part of the aqua-based workout involves floating face-up while practicing the skills of an adaptive backstroke. Whilst swimming a couple of days before Thanksgiving, a deep feeling of gratefulness shook me to the very core of my being; a stark realisation that without God’s incomparable and incomprehensible love, strength, support and provision, I would not have progressed to this point on the personal journey towards complete physical, spritual and mental healing and restoration.
The only memories that echoed throughout my mind at that moment, were the joyful experiences of the past twelve months. a far cry from the agony of the seven and a half hour surgery last November 2014, the second of its kind. The first surgery was in April 2014 – five days after the horrific car accident. Memories as diverse as marvelling at the beauty of Carlsbad’s natural endowment to the bouts of laughter while seated on the plush leather recliner in a luxury cinema at the Plaza Paseo Real; from basking in the sunshine in the perfect Beverly Hills weather to appreciating the inner workings of family-owned wineries in Napa Valley; from the child-like delight and wonder in the audience of the Shamu celebration show at Sea World.
To the camaraderie fostered between best friends while posing for a caricature artist; from experiencing the transformational presence of the Holy Sprit during evening worship at the Bethel Healing Conference in Redding. Admiring the cutest selfies ever with the three most adorable Storm Troopers at Comic-Con, San Diego; from screaming my head off during the Supernatural panel for my two favourite actors, Jensen and Jared to teasing the loser in last place at the Project Walk staff relay race; from making three special new friends in the Hollywood entertainment business to dancing in a Nashville hotel ballroom dressed head-to-toe in BCBG; from clapping after an especially unique and brilliant performance of A Christmas Carol at the Woodruff Arts Center, Atlanta to gripping my sides on the couch, laughing, singing and resting in the arms of a childhood friend after consuming my first Thanksgiving meal at a home in Marietta, Georgia, the happiness crystallised in countless moments of time seems to be never-ending.
The enemy grossly miscalculated the good that has and will continue to come from being confined temporarily to a wheelchair. Often at times, I find tears welling up in my eyes due to the rush of emotions when I think of the plethora of blessings that are constantly being thrown my way. Words cannot fully encapslate the level of gratitude I feel towards my Heavenly Papa for all He hath done for me and my family. I urge you to let Thanksgiving go beyond a single day; whenever you receive a kind word or gesture from a fellow human being or are in the fortunate position of being a blessing to another, utter a word of gratitude to the One who provides; for without Him, we may as well not fully exist.
Thank you for reading and May you continue to be blessed with good fortune. Amen.