Sunrise over the Plains, CC license Wayne Dallemore
Sunrise over the Plains, CC license Wayne Dallemore

In the sermon today Pastor spoke about thanksgiving.  He talked about driving from Chicago to Colorado.  He mentioned Julesburg, a High Plains town 170 miles from the Front Range.  Anyone who has driven the route knows from there it will be a while before they see the mountains, but they also know they are now on the other side of the Colorado-Nebraska border and with that get the expectation of seeing that for which they will be grateful.

The problem with this is those who have grown accustomed to the beauty of the mountains often fail to be grateful.  Though I fail at the task, I try to be grateful.  After all I have seen mountains, which perhaps I should not have seen at all.  For that matter perhaps I should have never seen Julesburg or even crossed the border into Colorado. I mean that in the most literal way.

This is a month to pray for life and be vigilant in the matter, however for me this is not only a month of prayer for vigilance and a changing of hearts and minds.  It is a month for prayers of thanksgiving.

Crossing over into Colorado or all the other states and nations I have seen is not the first border I made it through. In the minds of many, I should not even have seen with my infant eyes the foothills that surround the village of Munchweiler, a town about the size of Julesburg in the German Pfalz.  That I saw these at all is my first thanksgiving, for the first border I crossed over was that which brought me into the world.

A young woman had no reason to bring me into the world and a soldier had no reason to stand by her side in the matter.  My mother and father were foolish people and because of their foolishness the sun has rose for me on 18,007 days.

I use to think it mattered little those 18,007 days.  I was glad I had them, but I spent too much time wondering how my mother could even entertain the thought of my existence.  After that I spent too much time thinking the thing was her choice and who was I to stand in the way of this or anyone else’s decision in such matters.  In time, I came to realize she was very brave.  I realized she was given a choice and the choice she made has become more than 18,000 days.

As I write this, perhaps a baby is seeing Julesburg or Munchweiler for the first time.  If this is true, then the credit belongs to a brave woman, for there is no greater calling than to be a mother.  I also know that from the beginning of this year alone that nearly 32,000,000 have never see the likes of Munchweiler, Julesburg or any other place.  I have to believe they will see heaven, but they will not see those rare days that belong to the good Earth.

I don’t know what makes one go through the doors on Elston Avenue.  As a man I am l not qualified to be judgmental in the matter and as one who is apolitical, I do not concern myself with law of such a thing. If you do this, I do know you must be conflicted and unlike my mother perhaps you have no one to stand with you.  I know you must feel alone.  I wish I could tell you that you are not.  I wish I could tell you I stand with you and no matter what you do, my prayers are with you.

Tomorrow I will see the sun.  It will rise over the high plains where Julesburg sits and over the hills of the Pfalz where one finds Munchweiler.  It will also rise over Chicago where I will see it for the 18,008th time and someone else will see it for the first.  It will rise for one more person because someone was brave.  Though I often fail to be grateful, I will be grateful for this.  I will be thankful someone has their first new day and that someone else like my mother had the courage to bring them to that.  In time they may even see Julesburg or Munchweiler.  If that happens, I will be very thankful for these are beautiful places and you, the one who stood for life, are a beautiful person for allowing them to go there.