An experience I can’t fully explain | A Thanksgiving experience

Posted: November 21, 2012 in Holidays, Me and God

Last week I had what I can comfortably describe as a quasi-supernatural experience.

Friday night. A few thousand people gathered at a local church to worship and celebrate the launch of a new CD. The lights are dim and a new song sung…you can hear the many voices of adults and kids, men and women singing together the verses that describe God’s goodness in providing in all times. Then the lines “faithful faithful” are repeated over and over…. And then it happened:

In way that I just can’t describe completely, my mind became an ultra fast video player. My life started flashing through my mind. I was somehow reminded, or more accurately, started to quickly re-live, times of my childhood and youth. I re-experience in a blink of an eye being a pre-teenager growing up in a single-working-mother home -in hard financial circumstances, in the midst of a violent and uncertain third world country.

I suddenly remembered what it was like to grow up without a dad, or fancy food, or fancy sneakers.
I considered what it would have been of my life, should I have continued in my path to be a Catholic priest.
I ponder upon what it felt to consider suicide when debt and unemployment darken any possible dreams as a college age man.
With a bit of shame and some pain, I remembered laying down on a couch on a dark after-party night, feeling and hearing loudly my unusually fast heartbeat accelerated by excessive use of cocaine, and thinking “I know I could die of overdose any moment”, like some of my friends had.

It was a weird moment; just a few seconds long, but so much was brought up. Then, those memories abruptly turned into considering who I am today, what I have today.

The immediate conclusion and emotion in my heart, contrary to what one might imagine, was NOT “wow!, look at where God has brought me from” -though He has. It wasn’t either “wow! Look at how much God gave to me” –though He did. My thought was not of gratitude for bringing me out of a third world country into the American dream, but rather, gratitude and thankfulness for being and providing father figures when my father was gone. For teaching me and my family to appreciate and see His faithfulness and provision in the little we had and how to make the most of it. I felt thankful for being part of the statistical guerrilla-related 50% survival rate from my mom’s family side. I felt appreciation, not necessarily for what I experienced and what He saved me from, but for having the opportunity to experience those things, under His protection and sovereignty -in spite of my sin and, sometimes, bad decisions.

The song kept on going and going…”faithful, faithful, faithful..”. as I was reminded that thankfulness is not necessarily born from the difference between bad towards good; nor from not having to having; otherwise one would conclude that people who are born with everything, have not much to be thankful for. Rather, maybe thankfulness comes from the understanding that we are born into a sinful and fallen world where bad things are the rule and not the exception. A world where only by the grace, love and hand of God, one can go through without losing their mind –even in-spite of lack of believe of acknowledgment of God’s presence and plans.

I read recently a tweet that read: “The gospel teaches us 1st that we are entitled to nothing, & then, gives us everything.”. That is perhaps, the key to being truly thankful.

  1. Angela says:

    I love this, and I love you!!!!

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