Have you ever looked at something amazing, say, the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France, and cried out, “Wow, that couldn’t have ‘just happened’—somebody must’ve planned it all!” I sure haven’t said that, because I don’t want someone to overhear me and call the pickup service at Wacky Walt’s Discount Insane Asylum to come and fetch me. It’s more than obvious that somebody planned the construction of the Eiffel Tower!
Still, we tend to take many things for granted, not stopping to appreciate the hard work and tireless planning that go into creating something meaningful and lasting.
Take cigarettes, for example. Lasting addiction and meaningful profits are not the result of mere chance. It takes vast organization and many journeys to bribe, er, consult with various members of Congress before tobacco companies’ goals are achieved.
The average school day provides another fine example. One afternoon several months ago, the principal called his ghoulish gang together and addressed the math teacher.
“Mr. Taskmaster, have you and the other junior high teachers finished creating the fall schedule?”
“We sure have, Principal Payne. We believe that what we’ve orchestrated is nothing short of a virtual symphony of hope and despair, with emotionally exhausting reprises of exhilarating recreation and soul-crushing homework.”
“Excellent, then. Thanks to your dedication to students’ psychological states and your commitment to ensuring an environment of incessant misery, this year is sure to be like all the rest.”
OK, maybe that isn’t quite accurate, but it was easier than talking about all the planning you put into getting out of doing your chores.
My final example regarding appreciation involves the place where most Guide readers spend a great deal of time. No, not in front of the bathroom mirror. Rather, I speak of the United States of America.
God’s hand was in the raising up of this nation. In Europe, Christians were being persecuted for their faith. Ellen White wrote: “And when God’s hand seemed pointing them across the sea, to a land where they might found for themselves a state, and leave to their children the precious heritage of religious liberty, they went forward.”*
No, the raising up of this country didn’t “just happen,” nor do the blessings we enjoy in this land. According to Ellen White, “The people of the United States have been a favored people.”†
So why am I speaking of this? I’m not—I’m writing about it. And that’s because the Thanksgiving season is a good time to remind ourselves that the country so many of us call home is here for a reason. God’s desire was for this country to provide a place where all could worship freely, without fear of persecution. We each need to do our part to keep the flames of liberty burning brightly.
Now, on the subject of Thanksgiving, that’s something else that didn’t “just happen.” My understanding is that some of the Cleveland Indians, shortly after the May flowers had started blooming, were performing a style of music called Plymouth Rock somewhere on the East Coast.
“I wish those turkeys would tone it down,” a man said to Mr. Grimm, a neighbor, before adding, “That lead singer is a real pill, Grimm.” In the end, the locals got together with the Cleveland Indians and the whole gang worked things out. At least it was something like that, or am I thinking of the term paper I turned in to my history professor at Wacky Walt’s Insane Asylum?
*The Great Controversy, p. 291
†Review and Herald, May 2, 1893, p. 2.