Thanksgiving in October?

October 20, 2010 — 4 Comments

Sara and I watched Field of Dreams tonight on Blu-ray. It had been years since I’ve seen this movie. A lot of it was really cheesy and the plot was absolutely ridiculous. Why hadn’t I noticed that when I was younger?

I did like three things about it, though.

1. Poindexter from Revenge of the Nerds is in the movie. So that’s a huge plus right off the bat.

2. James Earl Jones is in the movie and he’s awesome. So that’s also a huge plus.

3. This is a direct quote from the movie: “Is this heaven? No, it’s Iowa.”

About eight days ago I preached a sermon and was exhausted after the Sunday morning was finished. Knowing that I had to go back to church later that evening to teach a class, all I wanted to do was take a nap.

But I couldn’t.

I had to go up to Goldfield and meet people at Sara’s new church. My day would be a full one.

Goldfield is about 29 miles away and it was about 75 outside so I decided to take my motorcycle. I knew I would not have many more nice days to go on a ride. In fact, it should have already been way too cold for a bike ride, but we’ve been having an awesome October. Even though there is no helmet law in Iowa, I put my full-face helmet on and put headphones in underneath it.

Pulling out onto the badger blacktop, I had MxPx’s Slowly Going the Way of the Buffalo playing on my phone as I began to cruise. I passed Badger and headed out to Thor. By now the roads were straight and empty and I could see for miles.

Feeling invincible, I gunned the throttle for quite some time and road my bike at a speed that was nowhere near 55mph. We’ll just say it was somewhere in the 80’s. I know the real number but it’s a secret.

Now before you start dialing your phone to call me or typing on the keyboard to leave me a message about how foolish I was, just know this: I’m writing this blog so I survived. Yes, the end doesn’t justify the means. Yes I could have been hurt. Yes I need to set an example to other people because I’m a pastor. And yes, I know it was foolish. That’s not the point of this story, though.

Just know that my bike is only a 600cc so it can’t really even go all that fast, I have only done this 1 other time in over 7,000 miles of riding, and I probably won’t do it again.

So I got to Goldfield, hung out with people for about an hour and then road back because I had somewhere else to be. The way back was just as cool as the way out. I was flying down the highway with the bright blue sky overhead, wide open fields being harvested around me, great old school punk rock music, not a care in the world. I kept repeating a line of a Pedro the Lion song.

“God bless the Indian summer.”

I have a feeling that the song is about vastly different things than what I was considering, but I don’t care. In that moment, on my bike, I experienced a profound sense of thankfulness. I could have been mad that I was running late and had to work for like 13 hours on a nice Sunday afternoon when everybody else could relax.

But I simply felt blessed. On that ride home I could not help but think about how many ways God provides for Sara and me while I often don’t even realize it. Somewhere between Thor and Badger, I experienced Thanksgiving in October.

Looking back on this experience, I can see why Shoeless Joe Jackson would confuse heaven and Iowa while talking with Kevin Costner. And at the same time, I have friends who can’t understand why I would live in Iowa, or some who might not even be able to find it on a map.

Our church has been walking through a Dave Ramsey series, and this past Sunday we talked about contentment. I’m amazed at how frequently I’m led to believe that my life will not be complete unless I have some new product or unless I have some vacation to get excited about. However when I buy into these lies I miss out on so many ways that God is blessing me each and every day.

I have a feeling that I’m not the only one he’s blessing. How have you seen God blessing you lately? For what can you celebrate Thanksgiving in October? What prevents you from noticing the gifts God is giving you? How can we strive to be more content with what God is already doing in our lives?


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I'm a pastor, writer, speaker, husband, father, and follower of Christ, to name a few titles. You can find my contact information in my About page.
  • Ted Hugghins

    All too often we don’t stop to experience what we have and be thankful.
    The marketing genius has caused us to want, want, want.

    We can all look for ways to be content.
    Sometimes those ways are hard to see when we are looking through gobs of stuff!

    Contentment tends to be a charade or excuse for more stuff.
    That is not contentment, it becomes selfishness.

    Be aware of wanting material things.
    Are they needs or wants. Stomach hungry versus mouth hungry?

    Contentment or stuffitis ?

    • austindhill

      Good point, Ted. It is often very difficult to discern what we want as opposed to what we need. It can be humbling when we lose that which we think we need just find that we didn’t actually need it.

  • Sarah Black

    I too have felt the need to speed, when I was 18, in North Dakota, I was told I couldn’t have the car again (one family car) if I didn’t get home on time. I was well into the triple digits, but made it home safely. So many times I have thought about the other possibilities and how it would have affected my family if I had wrecked the car.

    I love a sunny fall day, and there have been so many this year. I totally feel and understand what you felt. I too am grateful and thankful for the gifts of life and family and health and what I have been given.. We think we have a lot going on sometimes, how much does God have going on?

    Thanks for sharing that feeling.

    • austindhill

      It’s good to hear that one can retain an appreciation for this place after living here for a while. I frequently hear young people describe how they can’t wait to leave town as soon as they are able, a fairly typical thing for young people to think, but I consider all the different places I’ve lived and I’d rather live here than in many of them!