By David Dawson
Most of you reading these words have met my dad, Mike Dawson, a retired Baptist preacher.
I know this because a recent Gallop poll revealed that 81 percent of earth’s population has met my dad, and 71 percent of those surveyed said that they classify him “as a close friend.”
Okay, I made that up. But the truth is, you can’t go anywhere with my dad — be it a restaurant, a church function, a barber shop, a cornfield in Nebraska — without someone stopping him to to say “Hello, Bro. Mike!” and to thank him for “doing their wedding” in 1989.
My dad retired from the ministry in 2004, but that’s a poor usage of the word “retired.” He is still very much involved in ministry work — doing transitional interims, writing Sunday School lessons for the B&R, running a prayer “hotline” from his home office, doing funerals, weddings, the works.
Anyway, the reason that I am bringing up my dad today is because he embodies Thanksgiving in the truest sense. He approaches every day with a heart of gratitude and gives glory to the Lord for every good thing. Simply put, he is the most thankful person I have ever met. He’s like the Santa Claus of Thanksgiving.
My mom is very much the same way. I can’t count the times that I have watched her say a quick prayer of thanks over the most minor events — when a parking spot opens up, when her meticulously-kept bookwork totals up correctly, when an appointment at the hair place becomes available. I’ve literally even heard my mom give thanks when she makes a wrong turn: “Thank you, Lord, for steering me away from whatever that was going to be!”
My parents are living, breathing examples of the verse: “In everything, give thanks.”
Having been raised in this environment, the concept of constant thanksgiving rubbed off on me, despite a great deal of reluctance on my part.
Somewhere along the way, the hardheaded, often-cynical son of Mike and Jolene Dawson became a very thankful guy. Not just for the good things in life, but also for the stuff that isn’t so great — flat tires, bad Wifi, head colds, long lines, Vanderbilt football. These things, irritating as they might be, allow me to gain perspective.
So, today, I simply want to say that I AM THANKFUL …
• For Waffle House hamburgers;
• For days when my car never leaves the driveway;
• For that pretty teenage girl I met at the hardware store all those years ago (she no longer works there, but she’s still pretty);
• For that first sip of Mountain Dew each morning, usually about 10 minutes after I wake up;
• For the sound of my sons laughing together in the other room;
• For people who don’t devalue me as a human being just because they disagree with my political leanings;
• For Titans touchdowns;
• For songs that stay in 4/4 time from beginning to end. (Dropping in a measure of 3/4 is a dirty trick to play on a meat-and-potatoes drummer like me);
• For the times when I get in and out of the barber shop in under 30 minutes;
• For my appetite (if you’ve ever lost yours, you know what I mean);
• For text messages from my sisters;
• For the driver who stays at least one full car length behind me on the interstate;
• For getting to see the Atlanta Braves win a World Championship;
• For the way my dog, Chloe, rests her head on my leg during meal times (she knows I’m going to sneak her a little bite of cube steak at some point);
• For long, detailed, emotionally-charged conversations with my son, Jonah, about who is the best villian from DC Comics;
• For an extended family that is not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ;
• For the days when I get ready to go somewhere and I am able to quickly locate my car keys (if you’ve ever lost yours, you know what I mean);
• For having a job that I really like, and having co-workers that I truly love;
• For the thrill I get each year when I drive by the Opryland Hotel and see that they’ve turned on the Christmas lights;
• For my sense of smell and taste (if you’ve ever lost yours, you know what I mean).
• For welcome-home hugs from my youngest son, Luke;
• For comedians who don’t feel the need to “cuss” every other word;
• For laid-back Saturdays;
• For candlelight services on Christmas Eve;
• For the feeling I get when I finally find my car in the parking garage (if you’ve ever lost yours, you know what I mean);
• For a wife who excels in so many of the areas where I flounder (and that’s a pretty lengthy list);
• For the powerful message behind the simple song: “Jesus loves Me.”
• And lastly, for this opportunity to wish all of you a very happy Thanksgiving … and while I am at it, a very Merry Christmas, too. B&R