This Thanksgiving Here is What I am Thankful for Today

Technically this is the second Thanksgiving after the death of my Dad. But in reality it feels like the first. Amidst this season of pain and loss I learned something last night that brought a smile to my face and made me thankful. Its Eric Paul’s haircut. After fighting leukemia at Stanford Medical Center the disease is in remission and he is resuming his life. He posted about getting a haircut yesterday. So I am thankful for that haircut and Eric’s health bouncing back. Its most welcome to hear good news and I am happy for him,  his wife Michelle and his family.

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
his love endures forever.
2 Let Israel say:
“His love endures forever.”
3 Let the house of Aaron say:
“His love endures forever.”
4 Let those who fear the Lord say:
“His love endures forever.”
5 When hard pressed, I cried to the Lord;
he brought me into a spacious place.
6 The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid.
What can mere mortals do to me?
7 The Lord is with me; he is my helper.
I look in triumph on my enemies.
8 It is better to take refuge in the Lord
than to trust in humans.
9 It is better to take refuge in the Lord
than to trust in princes.
10 All the nations surrounded me,
but in the name of the Lord I cut them down.
11 They surrounded me on every side,
but in the name of the Lord I cut them down.
12 They swarmed around me like bees,
but they were consumed as quickly as burning thorns;
in the name of the Lord I cut them down.
13 I was pushed back and about to fall,
but the Lord helped me.
14 The Lord is my strength and my defense[a];
he has become my salvation.
15 Shouts of joy and victory
resound in the tents of the righteous:
“The Lord’s right hand has done mighty things!
16 The Lord’s right hand is lifted high;
the Lord’s right hand has done mighty things!”
17 I will not die but live,
and will proclaim what the Lord has done.
18 The Lord has chastened me severely,
but he has not given me over to death.

Psalm 118 NIV

Eric Pauls 

Eric Pauls is a close friend of mine from Fresno, California. Technically he is from Kingsburg to be specific. This year has been rough on him and his family. Earlier this year he was diagnosed with leukemia. In a phone call to me earlier this year he expressed him fears and concerns and told me that he wanted to see his kids grow old, graduate from school and get married. I was devastated when I heard the leukemia diagnosis. I wrote about it in, “With a Leukemia Diagnosis Please Keep Eric Pauls and His Family in Your Prayers During this Time.” Eric went through treatment at Stanford Medical Center and the leukemia responded to treatment. He is home now in the Fresno area and something I saw on Facebook yesterday made me smile. Eric posted about how he is getting his first haircut after all the chemotherapy and leukemia treatment. On social media is a picture of him smiling and his barber smiling while standing behind him. 

I had no plans of doing such a post about being thankful today. For me my life has been filled with loss and death. The death of two parents who died younger then they should have. The dark valley that has become my life especially as I walk forward alone and as an orphan trying to find my way. That all weighed on my mind as I was entering into Thanksgiving. But that picture of Eric getting a haircut after dealing with leukemia is something that brought a smile to my face. And I’ll be honest a tear as well. After all the loss in life it was most welcome to hear good news. To see someone who dealt with a medical situation who is doing well today is encouraging. Amidst all my loss I am going to say that I am thankful for how Eric is doing. To be on the recovery track and for him to get that haircut, well….for all that I am thankful for today. Eric I love you bro, grateful for your friendship, and overjoyed at the news. Happy Thanksgiving bro! 

And for everyone else who reads this blog from Chicago, Washington, D.C., Pennsylvania and elsewhere in the United States I hope you have a good Thanksgiving. Enjoy your time with family, friends, and more.