As we gear up to celebrate Thanksgiving and show our deep gratitude for all that God gives to us, does with us, and holds back from us, I wanted to share a different kind of story with you. I’m in the mood to reminisce, as I’ve got The Nana and Ahab under my roof for the first time in close to ten years, this Thanksgiving.
The Captain loves to tell this story. And, although he felt no small amount of frustration when it happened thirty years ago, he can look back and laugh about it now. Time is gracious that way.
This old dog used to hunt. Yes indeedy. She surely did.
To be fair, I should say that I did the best I could with what I had at the time; which was a skill-set that, as it turns out, doesn’t work well with the skill-set required for successful turkey hunting. But, I’m getting ahead of myself…
Once upon a time, The Captain decided to take me Turkey hunting with him and my brother. As a tween with a bit of a tomboy streak, I was thrilled to score an invite to the annual Turkey Hunt and to hang out with my father in his favorite environment (the great outdoors). I was also going to get the chance to show off my newly acquired skills with the twenty-gauge shotgun.
Now, these skills were hard-won with a couple of bruises to my shoulder (kick-back hurts!) and plenty of ribbing from my brother on my inability to come within a good foot of the actual targets during practices. Persistence paid off, though, as I finally proved my ability. This also earned me the coveted invitation.
Under normal circumstances, I’m sure the men in my family would have had no problem tuning me out. The thing is, we were in the middle of the Everglades on a hunting camp attempting to lure turkeys with no other noise than the sounds of our turkey calls.
If you know me at all, you can already see where this is headed…
We were in full camouflage and completely concealed by the Palmetto and myrtle bushes that we had cut to blend in with our surroundings.
And we were quiet.
The mission we were on required silence.
Silence is hard for me now, as an adult. You can imagine how hard it was for me as a tween!
And so, as the turkey calls ended and the wait began, it quickly turned into a much-too-long and much-too-quiet wait for me.
I got chatty.
And when a hoped for turkey finally did approach, I couldn’t contain my excitement – so I whisper-shouted it’s arrival.
I do believe that turkey looked at me that day and saw an angel. We could almost hear him say, “Praise the Lord! He sent me a human! That talks!” And Ahab swears that if that turkey had been able to, he’d have blown me a kiss as he hightailed it out of there.
You see, that turkey knew that he had received a stay of execution, because of me.
I can make all sorts of parallels to my life in Christ, here. I could tell you how God adores time with me, how He loves to see me put the gifts He’s given me to good use, or about the time that He commuted my own life sentence with one final cry of “It is finished!”.
But, what I want you to know, is that I am thankful for the time He’s given me with my family here on earth, too. I am grateful, this Thanksgiving Day, for the days He’s numbered for me and for the opportunities He’s given me to love on them and be loved on by them.
And, as for turkey hunting? You’ve probably already guessed that my mouth and I were never invited on another turkey hunt again.
The Captain also likes to add that since The President releases a Turkey each Thanksgiving, he did too.
Just… not intentionally.
Happy Happy Thanksgiving, my friends! I’m praying that you are surrounded by friends and/or family that you hold dear. (And by lots and lots of pie!).