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Give Thanks At All Times

The airline had lost my luggage and I didn’t feel very thankful at the time…

Of all times to have the airline lose my luggage! It was only my toiletries case with my one pair of good shoes, but of all places to wind up without them!

I’d flown out to New Mexico, for a one-day seminar sponsored by the Southwest Christian Writers’ Association. “No one will care about your shoes,” Margaret Cheasebro, the group’s president, assured me.

Doubtless Margaret was right, but of all times. Even as I said it, a phrase from our church’s communion service came to mind: “…we should at all times, and in all places, give thanks unto Thee.” At all times?

At the seminar’s close, several writers came up to the speaker’s stand. Suddenly there was an ear-splitting crack and the sound of exploding glass. Then a woman shouted, “Lie down! Everyone!”

Through the window she’d seen a man brandishing a gun. Later we learned that he’d been drinking and shooting at telephone poles. From the wall beyond the speaker’s stand, the police recovered the tip of an electric screwdriver fired from a muzzle-loading pistol.

While Margaret filled out the police report, the rest of us relived our escape, each recalling a step forward, a second’s delay that had kept him out of the line of fire.

For my part, I was tracing a trajectory, from the window to the wall, an inch over the spot where I’d been standing. I was thinking of a pair of two-and-a-half-inch heels in a missing bag. I was echoing an ancient prayer: “…we should at all times, and in all places, give thanks unto Thee.”

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