Skin and Bones

Hardly churchy, much less Presbyterian, our pastor steps aside the Sunday after Thanksgiving rather than preaching and lets anyone who wants to, step up and tell what they’re thankful for. David, age 8, thanked God this morning for getting to watch anime on his computer and for cars, “just for lots of cars,” he said wonderingly. I saw his mama’s eyes grin above her mask. We all laughed.

I hadn’t wanted to go first, but thought it much worse to sit and squirm, wondering when was the best time to jump in. So first I went:

“Ten days ago, I felt like a bundle of dry bones as I read the account of dry bones from Ezekiel 37. Due to a series of events and my sadness in response to them, I’d forgotten who God was–and wasn’t. I needed reminding.

“This verse resonated, ‘When I open your graves, you shall know that I am God. I’ll breathe my life into you, and you’ll live,’ Ez 37:13-14.

“I couldn’t think or pray myself back to life, but I realized after reading that I didn’t have to. God wasn’t telling me to get up and get going, my usual self-talk go-to. He said he would do it for me, ‘I’ll breathe my life into you, and you’ll live.’

“‘OK, God. Amaze me,’ I’d said. ‘I’m going back to bed.’ And I did.

“Later, I remembered some friends were scheduled to stop by to pray. I wanted to cancel and feel my sad, dry self instead, but I needed their help. So they came and prayed, and I felt a little better.

“After that, I had an appointment with a local Craig’s-Lister to check out his road bike. Despite threatening weather, we met at the Hixson dog park, and I took the bike for a spin. It was just my size. What’s more, it was a fair price, in prime condition, had normal handlebars, and was white–all the things I’d wanted. It felt like a personal gift with all the trimmings from The Giver. Only God knew white was on my list.

“An afternoon commitment fell through after that, so I had the rest of the day to myself.  This was another gift, since grandkids were due at the crack of dawn the next morning for a 4-day weekend.

“The ominous sky was still holding itself in check, and the Riverwalk beckoned for a test drive. Would I have time before the rain came? I decided to try and risk it. While I normally ride a fat-tire bike, slow and steady, this one fairly flew along without my help.

“The wind was wild, the sky dark and stormy, the leaves glorious. Seventy-five minutes later, both spent and exhilarated, I pedaled to my car as the first raindrops fell. Yet another gift.

“Our new caretakers here at church had signed that afternoon for the delivery of this replacement rug I’m standing on this morning. Because they did, I didn’t have to, so I got that grand ride in before the storm. (Thank you Mary Katherine.)

“Since those grandboys would arrive the next morn and I would be tied up with them for the weekend, getting that rug swapped out before church today needed to happen that night. But who do you ask for help at suppertime on a dark and rainy night out here in the middle of nowhere?

“God himself, as it turns out.

“For reasons I couldn’t figure, the lights in here where there’s nothing but sunlight this morning didn’t work that moondark night, except for in that corner where Kendra’s sitting. The outside lights weren’t working either.

“‘God, I’m a crazy ol’ gal out here in the country in the dark all by myself and asking for your help. Please show up.’

“I don’t know how I wrangled the other rug off this platform and out the door and in the back of my car, and this new one in its place. Seagrass is heavy, y’all. All I know is that we did it.

“Driving home, my heart was so full, it slid down my face and into my lap. I was overwhelmed by the tendons and skin I could feel covering bone, the nourishing life pouring in. Only God Almighty could bring such a turn around, breathing life into me that day-of-all-days, and any day, come to think of it.

“‘Amaze me,’ I’d said.

“Welp, he surely did.

“Of course, there were many more profound gifts that day. There was plenty of air to breathe, light in the sky to find my way, gravity that held me on my bike seat, and blood that pumped through my veins. These everyday gifts–and more than I can name–tend to get overlooked by me, forgotten and unnamed. Un-thanked.

“How good of God to knock-my-socks-off anyway, so that the cry of my heart was no longer a snarky, Amaze me. But became,

“O God, you alone are very great.

“Only God is God and worthy of praise.

For another story of what happened on another Thanksgiving Sunday, see“.

Here’s the service if you’re interested

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