We had just celebrated Thanksgiving together before each team headed off to a different part of the Kenyan countryside.Our squad of 50 was spending a year traveling around the world visiting 11 countries in 11 months and 14 of us hopped on a bus to journey deep into the desert; a ride promising 12 hours of overnight travel. I watched the seats fill up sure that we’d depart after the final one was filled which seems laughable to me now, but after all, my ticket had a seat number on it. Long after each seat was filled people continued loading on the bus. Some sat three across, others stood in the aisles, and a Kenyan woman planted herself squarely on top of my feet. Her chicken settled down on my teammate’s. I tried to have a good attitude, I really did, but the bus got hotter, the dust became heavier, my feet fell asleep and my head was tucked just under an open armpit. I felt myself sinking deeper and deeper into frustration. Just before I got to the ugly place, the one where my frustration leaks on everyone around me, my teammate asked me to name 5 things I was thankful for. I wasn’t the least bit interested in that, I had far too much to complain about and how dare she try to force me out of the self-imposed funk I had started to feel justified in. But I did it.
- I’m thankful that the chicken is on your feet and not mine.
- I’m thankful there’s not one more person on this bus.
- I’m thankful I have a seat….
- Thankfulness for the obvious gifts the Lord has given you – family, friends, good jobs, new opportunities, answered prayers. Don’t take for granted that all of those come from the Lord.
- Thankfulness for the small mercies in hard circumstances – for a bad job that’s better than no job, for great friends even when a significant other is desired. This is where you’re thankful that at least there’s not a chicken on your feet.
May Thanksgiving overflow in our hearts this week and into the year beyond.