My favorite Thanksgiving Story..I hope you enjoy it!

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Dear Friend,

Some time ago I came across a story that deeply touched my heart. I related to the story so much that I decided to build a Thanksgiving tradition around it. Every year, I get a bouquet of thorny stems for each of my guests, then roll this story into a scroll and put a ribbon around it to present with the arrangement. If I’m a guest in someone else’s home, I take a scroll and arrangement for each guest, or at the very least, I take one for the hostess. We then read the story and discuss all that we’ve learned in the last year and all that we are thankful for.

Today I’d like to share the story with you for the ninth year in a row. Read for yourself and enjoy. Perhaps some of you will start your own Thanksgiving tradition by giving a copy of the story and a couple “thorny stems” to each of your guests as a thanksgiving gift! I’d be thrilled and honored if you’d like to share my tradition with your family and friends. As long as you call ahead, your florist will most likely GIVE you stems. They may not be rose stems, but as long as you specify, they will have thorns.

Now, read on, dear ones. . . and enjoy.

Thankful For The Thorns

Sandra felt as low as the heels of her Birkenstocks as she pushed against a November gust and the florist shop door. Her life had been easy, like a spring breeze. Then in the fourth month of her second pregnancy, a minor automobile accident stole her ease. During this Thanksgiving week she would have delivered a son. She grieved over her loss.

As if that weren’t enough her husband’s company threatened a transfer. Then her sister, whose holiday visit she coveted, called saying she could not come. What’s worse, Sandra’s friend infuriated her by suggesting her grief was a God-given path to maturity that would allow her to empathize with others who suffer. “Had she lost a child? No, she has no idea what I’m feeling,” Sandra shuddered. Thanksgiving? “Thankful for what?” she wondered. For a careless driver whose truck was hardly scratched when he rear-ended her? For an airbag that saved her life but took that of her child?

“Good afternoon, can I help you?” The flower shop clerk’s approach startled Sandra. “Sorry,” said Jenny the shop clerk, “I just didn’t want you to think I was ignoring you.”

“I….I need an arrangement.” “For Thanksgiving?” Sandra nodded. “Do you want beautiful but ordinary, or would you like to challenge the day with a customer favorite I call the Thanksgiving Special?” Jenny saw Sandra’s curiosity and continued. “I’m convinced that flowers tell stories, that each arrangement insinuates a particular feeling. Are you looking for something that conveys gratitude this Thanksgiving?”

“Not exactly!” Sandra blurted. “Sorry, but in the last five months, everything that could go wrong has.” Sandra regretted her outburst but was surprised when Jenny said, “I have the perfect arrangement for you.” The door to the shop once again opened.

“Barbara! Hi,” Jenny said. She politely excused herself from Sandra and walked toward a small workroom. She quickly reappeared carrying a massive arrangement of greenery, bows, and long-stemmed thorny roses. Only, the ends of the rose stems were neatly snipped, no flowers.

“Want this in a box?” Jenny asked. Sandra watched for Barbara’s response. Was this a joke? Who would want rose stems and no flowers! She waited for laughter, for someone to notice the absence of flowers atop the thorny stems, but neither woman did.

“Yes, please. It’s exquisite,” said Barbara. “You’d think after three years of getting the special, I’d not be so moved by its significance, but it’s happening again. My family will love this one. Thanks.”

Why so normal a conversation about such a strange arrangement? She wondered. “Ah, said Sandra, pointing. “That lady just left with, ah….” “Yes?” “Well, she had no flowers!” “Right, I cut off the flowers.” “Off?” “Off. Yep. That’s the Special. I call it the Thanksgiving Thorns Bouquet.” “But, why do people pay for that?” In spite of herself, Sandra chuckled. “Do you really want to know?” “I couldn’t leave your shop without knowing… I would wonder about nothing else!”

“That might be good,” said Jenny. “Well,” she continued, “Barbara came into the shop three years ago feeling very much like you feel today. She thought she had very little to be thankful for. She had lost her father to cancer, the family business was failing, her son was into drugs, and she faced major surgery. That same year, I lost my husband. I assumed complete responsibility for the shop and for the first time, spent the holidays alone. I had no children, no husband, no family nearby, and too great a debt to allow any travel,” Jenny said.

“What did you do?” “I learned to be thankful for thorns.” Sandra’s eyebrows lifted. “Thorns?” I’m a Christian Sandra and I believe God gave us all things in life, but I never thought to ask Him why good things happened to me. But, when bad stuff hit, did I ever ask! It took time to learn that dark times are important. I always enjoyed the ‘flowers’ of life but it took thorns to show me the beauty of God’s comfort. You know, the Bible says that God comforts us when we’re afflicted and from His consolation we learn to comfort others.”

Sandra gasped. “A friend read that passage to me and I was furious! I guess the truth is I don’t want comfort. I’ve lost a baby and I’m angry with God.” She started to ask Jenny to “go on” when the door’s bell diverted their attention.

“Hey, Phil!” shouted Jenny as a balding, rotund man entered the shop. She softly touched Sandra’s arm and moved to welcome him. He tucked her under his side for a warm hug. “I’m here for twelve thorny long- stemmed stems!” Phil laughed, heartily. “I figured as much,” said Jenny. “I’ve got them ready.” She lifted a tissue-wrapped arrangement from the refrigerated cabinet.

“Beautiful,” said Phil. “My wife will love them.” Sandra couldn’t help but ask, “These are for your wife?” Phil saw that Sandra’s curiosity matched his when he first heard of a Thorn Bouquet. “Do you mind me asking, Why thorns?” “In fact, I’m glad you asked,” he said. “Four years ago my wife and I nearly divorced. After forty years, we were in a real mess, but we slogged through, problem by rotten problem. We rescued our marriage our love, really. Last year at Thanksgiving I stopped in here for flowers. I must have mentioned surviving a tough process because Jenny told me that for a long time she kept a vase of rose stems-just the stems-as a reminder of what she learned from “thorny” times. That was good enough for me. I took home stems. My wife and I decided to label each one for a specific thorny situation and give thanks for what the problem taught us. I’m pretty sure this stem review has become a tradition.” Phil paid Jenny, thanked her again and as he left, said to Sandra, “I highly recommend the Special!”

“I don’t know if I can be thankful for the thorns in my life.” Sandra said to Jenny.

“Well, my experience says that thorns make roses more precious. We treasure God’s providential care more during trouble than at any other time. Remember, Sandra, Jesus wore a crown of thorns so that we might know His love. Do not resent thorns, actually be thankful for them.”

Tears rolled down Sandra’s cheeks. For the first time since the accident she loosened her grip on resentment. “I’ll take twelve long-stemmed thorns, please.”

“I hoped you would,” Jenny said. “I’ll have them ready in a minute. Then, every time you see them, remember to appreciate both good and hard times. We grow through both.”

“Thank you. What do I owe you?”

“Nothing. Nothing but a pledge to work toward healing your heart. The first year’s arrangement is always on me.” Jenny handed a card to Sandra. “I’ll attach a card like this to your arrangement, but maybe you’d like to read it first. Go ahead, read it.”

My God, I have never thanked Thee for my thorn! I have thanked Thee a thousand times for my roses, but never once for my thorn. Teach me the glory of the cross I bear, teach me the value of my thorns. Show me that I have climbed to Thee by the path of pain. Show me that my tears have made my rainbow. ~George Matheson

Jenny said, “Happy Thanksgiving, Sandra,” handing her the Special. “I look forward to our knowing each other better.” Sandra smiled. She turned, opened the door and walked toward hope.

HAVE A BEAUTIFUL THANKSGIVING!

REMEMBER: BE THANKFUL FOR THE THORNS.

12 Comments

  • ROSE CROSS

    Reply Reply November 24, 2009

    I’M HERE TAKING A VERY QUICK LUNCH AND DECIDED FOR ONCE THIS WEEK TO READ MY NON-WORK RELATED EMAILS WHILE AT WORK (AT LUNCH)
    THIS WAS THE MOST TOUCHING STORY THAT I CAN RELATE TO IN A LONG TIME.

    THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR SHARING IT WITH ME.

    I HAVE TO SEND THIS TO MY FAMILY … SO MANY ARE SERVING OUR COUNTRY IN THE MILITARY. I KNOW THEY WILL ALL BE TOUCHED AS WELL.

    HAPPY THANKSGIVING, DONNA.

    • Donna Krech

      Reply Reply November 24, 2009

      God Bless You Rose! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!

  • Melissa Brown

    Reply Reply November 24, 2009

    Thank you Donna for sharing this! I know the perfect person who will love this. A young wife and mother lost her husband to brain cancer just a few months ago. She is a wonderful Christian, but like all of us who have gone through a loss, she has days that she needs reminded to be thankful for the thorns.
    This meant much to me as well. It was 6 years ago this Christmas that my parents came to visit and my mother became ill Christmas day. She never made it out of the hospital. Christmas is a mix of emotions for me. I am going to print this poem and place it where I can see it throughout the holidays!!

    Melissa

    • Donna Krech

      Reply Reply November 24, 2009

      Melissa, thank you for sharing, I am so happy that it touched you! Blessings to you!!

  • Natalie Hjelsvold

    Reply Reply November 24, 2009

    Thanks so much Donna! What a wonderful story!

  • Kelly Mitchell

    Reply Reply November 25, 2009

    Dear Donna, much has happened since I have seen you last on the beach of the Carribean in Punta Cana. I have a exceptionally beautiful five-year old daughter! And although I am still lonely with lack of a partner and all the struggle of raising my four boys, God has Blessed me with Education and now I have a house. I feel like I have come home finally from 40-years in the desert. The thorns are all I’ve known first place. I have had to learn to see the comfort in the moment and God’s Blessing has always been with me! I appreciate all the motivation speeches you have delivered and am telling you I am now taking courses in Entrepreneurship which is my next stage of growth toward my business some day so I can stay home, as apposed to always working outside my home. Last springs, lay-off is all I needed to wander and look toward my future of growth. What a path the Lord has set me on.
    knits and kneedles bykelly
    Thanks for all that you do and say hi to Marsha for me.
    Kelly Sue

  • Michelle Pohlman

    Reply Reply November 25, 2009

    Donna,
    I continue to struggle with re-engaging with my weight loss journey, my husband and I recently went through a tough time and contemplated separation and even divorce. I really was moved by this story and the bible verse. I hope this is just the inspiration and jump start I need to walk back into the doors of Thin and Healthy. Thank you and have a blessed Thanksgiving!
    Michelle

  • Donna Krech

    Reply Reply November 25, 2009

    Kelly, it is so wonderful to hear from you! I will tell Marcia you said hello!

  • Donna Krech

    Reply Reply November 25, 2009

    Michelle, thank you for the well wishes! I pray you find the focus and courage to get back on track. You deserve to be happy and healthy!!! Go for it!

  • Donna Krech

    Reply Reply November 25, 2009

    Thanks Natalie!

  • Stephanie

    Reply Reply November 25, 2009

    Thank you for sharing this story with us, Donna! November 26, 2001 my youngest daughter passed away, just about every year since then that date lands on Thanksgiving.
    I can truly appreciate the thorns. God is good, no matter what!!

    Not just on Thanksgiving, but all year long, I praise Him for who He is and for accepting my precious Hannah Grace, into His loving arms..even though she was too young to accept His gift of salvation.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  • Donna Krech

    Reply Reply November 25, 2009

    Your welcome Stephanie! God Bless You this holiday and always! Praise God for His faithfulness!

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