Divining Thanksgiving

by Sandy Stringfellow

Several weeks ago my youngest sister was killed, along with her husband, in Tampa, Florida, when a middle age male driver, with a medical condition resulting in a long history of losing consciousnessWebster and Nancy T-boned her minivan (passenger side), mid-section, at approximately seventy-plus miles per hour on Hillsborough Avenue.

His late model Dodge pickup truck struck with such force that it was propelled into the air and landed on top of another vehicle coming through the intersection. It then bounced off that vehicle roof and hood, landing in an upright position. The pickup driver was unhurt, and went to work the following day by taking a city bus. The driver of the pickup has been involved in eighteen vehicle-related accidents over the years, and recently had his driver’s license reinstated after having been suspended for six years.

Their granddaughter, three, was in the back seat, and taken to the hospital in critical condition. Most miraculously, it appears she will make a full recovery. The doctors said her progress is inexplicable, and believe they have misdiagnosed the seriousness of her brain injury, as she is light years ahead of where she should be considering the amount of cerebral swelling from the impact.

Nancy and Webster were the sweetest, caring people you could ever meet. Nancy taught high school math in Tampa, and was loved and admired by students and faculty. There are scores of people praying for Kaylee, her granddaughter, and I believe that has made all the difference, and also why her doctors cannot provide a satisfactory medical explanation for her rapid recovery. Your thoughts and prayers will provide additional healing strength, and are greatly appreciated.

My Thanksgiving this year will be somber by comparison to those of the past; more introspective, and, strangely, more “thankful.” As with so many others, I’ve been caught up in the pace and intensity of our “modern life,” and remiss in appreciating the gifts with which we are blessed daily.

It should remain, for all of us, an unquestioningly admirable expression of wisdom to make each day count by keeping our moments filled with love and good cheer, a perpetual thankfulness for family, friends, and neighbors, as well as for the opportunities we’ve been given and the willfulness with which we may affect a positive outcome in all that we seek to accomplish.

Most important of all, perhaps, is remembering to sustain our appreciation for the unseen and the unknown; there is, quite clearly, much more to life than the superficial and cosmetic components of our daily existence that we so frequently acknowledge as constituting our definitive realities while awake. To quote C.S. Lewis, “You don’t have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body.”

God already knows everything, and the Lord works in mysterious ways.

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3 thoughts on “Divining Thanksgiving

  1. Sandy, I am so sorry to hear about this tragic situation. Your grief, along with that of all the family and friends must be enormous. Your honest, heartfelt, and holy response to this tragedy proves that even though we are never completely prepared for tragedy, especially the unexpected, some of us have learned that even though we don't have all the answers, we know the One who does. God Bless you, your family, and Webster and Nancy's 3 yr old grand-daughter.Love in Christ, Harv

  2. Sandy – there are no words to adequately express my admiration and respect for your superbly written Thanksgiving tribute. Your sentiments are conveyed with such depth and love. You have stirred the remembrance that "there is, quite clearly, much more to life than the superficial and cosmetic components of our daily existence". We, indeed, are "remiss in appreciating the gifts with which we are blessed daily".

  3. Sandy,Thank you for sharing this life experience with us. I know that we all share your sorrow and grief, but we are thankful along with you that the baby is making recovery. Most of all, thank you for sharing how your faith has led you through this tragedy. You and your family are in my thoughts and my prayers. John

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