Thursday, November 28, 2019

Thoughts From A Church Pew

Good Morning! And happy Thanksgiving to you all! I love this holiday perhaps more than any other because it feels good to stop and smell the roses, count your blessings, and let a meal wing you back to the memory of childhood dinners on the good china.

A week and a half ago I sat beside my daughter in a church pew on a military base in South Korea. I looked around my seat at the (mostly young) men and women, the newlyweds and the single folks, the families with young children, some with a baby on the way, those who left family on the other side of the world for one reason or another, and I felt so much love for these people who I don't even know, that I wanted to cry.

I listened as the pastor reminded everyone there were sign up sheets out for Thanksgiving dinner, people opening up their homes to share a meal with singles who might want a home cooked plate of turkey and dressing or families who want a full table on this day of gratitude, and I thought this is America. Right here.

I thought about life back in the states, about all the angry noisy noise and how our all day news and our 'friendly' social media feeds and our television screens are filled with so very many complaining about so very

We have that luxury in the land of the free and in 2019 we've run with it full throttle.

Someone said something I don't like. 
They need to be verbally assaulted, eviscerated, labeled. 

Someone is going to give a speech on my college campus and I already know I don't like or agree with anything they will say-think-feel so they should be protested, banned, their every sin laid bare. 

Every little thing an emotional trigger for somebody somewhere.

Me Me Me 

Meanwhile, on a military base in S. Korea young men and women get on with things. They rise at dawn as the trumpet blows. No calling in sick, no skipping class or an assignment, no tweeting their outrage and discontent from the warmth and comfort of a 60K a year dorm room paid for by parents or exorbitant student loans.

They get up and put on a uniform. They head out to pt because there is value in being both mentally and physically fit. They do their jobs, large and small, the seemingly menial and the obviously meaningful because it takes all kinds to make the world go round.

They grow in ways they didn't expect and develop the sort of skills and character traits America was built on...self-discipline, adaptability, patience, courage, selflessness.

As I sit down at the table with family today I will say a prayer of thanksgiving for our military men and women. They can't jump in the car and go to mama's for the weekend, in fact here in S. Korea most don't even have cars.

Or packages delivered to their door 24 hours after hitting purchase.

Or their favorite television shows, favorite stores and restaurants, or a million other things we take for granted every single day.

Some are homesick for America and go to bed tired from the mental energy it takes to live an ordinary day in a foreign country, base or no base.

But these soldiers are tough and resourceful and optimistic and they will find a way to mark the holiday. It won't be grandma's homemade rolls on the table or watching the game with dad, but it will still be a day of giving thanks.

And while we're giving thanks let's also remember the young wife married just a month before moving around the world, far from the only hometown she's ever known. And the mama with a just turned one year old who has yet to meet his grandparents in person because 7000+ miles is just not that easy or affordable to arrange.

Think of the aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, best friends, missing their soldier today and every day.

Think of all we have at our fingertips here in the USA and be grateful without any buts! attached.

Vow to hit pause before hitting send-publish-share on words that do nothing in the way of adding peace to this land we love.

Hug the people you're with knowing there's a mama somewhere who would love to do the same but who settles for FaceTime and phone calls squeezed in around upside down time zones.

May your Thanksgiving day be blessed!


  1. Well, Joyce, I'm sitting here wiping tears as I read this most poignant post! Such truth and wishing you and yours a most wonderful day. So glad our paths crossed some years ago through our blogs. Blessings abundant!

  2. Happy Thanksgiving Joyce. As always a well written piece.

  3. Please send this to every newspaper in American as a letter to the Editor. Everyone needs to read this, Joyce. Thank you. Well done!

  4. I appreciate this so much. It would be wonderful to read in a newspaper. I agree with Terri!
    God bless you!

  5. This was so beautifully and thoughtfully written. You really have the gift of writing.

  6. I choose to believe that most of America is like those military families rather than the loud, negative group we hear too much from. I’m grew up in Midwest small town America and there are so many of the salt of the earth there who just get on with life and appreciate family, freedom and faith. Great post :-)

  7. I am happy to live in America and be able to voice my loud, obnoxious opinion. So many countries people are killed if they say anything at all against their government. I am so grateful you were able to so to South Korea and see your family. And thanks for this reminder.

  8. Beautiful thoughts behind spot on writing...I would say you pretty much nailed what thanksgiving and every day should be about! Wow!

  9. Beautiful post, your words are perfect and I thank you for sharing them with me.