Thankfulness can never be cliched, nor is it ever out of style or out of season.
There’s a song we used to sing in the church I grew up in that said, “Every day is a day of Thanksgiving. God’s been so good to me. Every day He’s blessing me…Take the time to glorify the Lord today.”
Now, sure enough, we sung that song every year during our annual Thanksgiving services. But the lyrics denote the truth about true Thanksgiving.
There’s no wrong time to be thankful. Just because we set aside the last Thursday of each November as the day to emphasize thankfulness, any day is appropriate.
So that’s why, as you’re watching your football games and dining on fresh or 3-day-old turkey — depending on when you’re reading this — I want you to just reflect with me on the things I’m most thankful for.
I’m thankful for life, health and strength. Back in April 2021 I experienced my first-ever hospital stay. Thirteen days without really being able to eat or drink anything more than ice and water as I tried to avoid surgery. It was a scary time. But almost two years later, I’m well and healthy. I still could stand to lose a couple of dozen pounds, but I’m a long way from where I was 17 months ago.
I’m thankful for my son and my family. Micah is a jewel. At 11-years old, he’s already far more accomplished than I ever was. My little guy is the No. 1 ranked taekwondo fighter in the nation in his age group, and has literally traveled the world, as of our October trip to Bogota and Sogomosa-Boyaca, Colombia, to compete. He’s an A/B honor student, an excellent writer and the youngest member on his very good middle school basketball team. He enjoys a relationship with God in his own way, and he rarely gives his mother and I an ounce of trouble.
Back in June 2020, when I got the phone call about the passing of my father, I sat on the couch and colossally failed at holding in my sobs in an attempt to be strong for my son. Guess who was right there to sit next to me and wipe my tears? A then-9-year old Micah. He brought me tissue, wiped my face and rested his head into my chest to console me when it should’ve been the other way around. I can’t think of many — if any — things I’m more thankful for than him.
I’m thankful for my wife Shawnda, and the selfless ways she supports my passions, dreams and goals both in ministry and the newspaper industry. Knowing that me taking on my role here at The Covington News while she’s finishing out her term on the Richmond County school board would cause us to live between two cities, she didn’t hesitate to spur me on and has been my biggest fan and supporter since, always giving encouragement and throwing down in the kitchen to make sure I have good food to eat when we aren’t together.
I’m thankful that my mother (still living in Omaha) is still alive and well, and that I may get to see her and my sister for Christmas this year.
I’m thankful for the kindness of those who have helped so immensely as I transition to being not just a Covington worker, but a Covington resident. I don’t have to call your names. You know who you are, and your benevolence is so appreciated.
I’m thankful for my other pulpit. The one at my Augusta church where I get to preach and teach the gospel every Sunday evening. I’m thankful for those who have committed to serving with us and for what I believe will be a soon-coming expanded ministry presence in Covington.
I’m thankful for all my bonus children, and our new granddaughter Jahkyah. I can’t wait to hold her.
I’m thankful for the new way I’m learning Covington and Newton County, the new people I’ve met. The folks I’ve “re-met” and have begun to know afresh in this role I now serve.
I’m thankful for the staff of The Covington News. We’re small but mighty. I don’t know many who can do more with less better than the folks I get to share the office with on a regular basis. Thank you for your work and for how you’ve helped me to acclimate to this new role. Tom Spigolon, Cynthia Blackshear-Warren, Lee Ann Avery, Phillip Hubbard (best sports editor around. Yes, I still have a soft spot for sports), Brian Worton and Alicia Goolsby, I appreciate ya’ll more than you know. Couldn’t have picked a better staff myself. And, of course, our owner, Patrick Graham. Thank you for your assistance in helping me get re-adjusted here.
And last but certainly not least, I’m super thankful for you our readers and advertisers. Because if not for you, that aforementioned staff and I would all be looking for other places of employment. Those of you who love and connect with the way we approach coverage keep us hungry to find new ways to provide excellence. Those who don’t keep us sensitive to how we can continue improving as a media company.
No matter which side of the fence you’re on, we’re here for you.
I pray God’s best blessings upon you all as we enter into the heft of the holiday season. May we collectively find more reasons to be thankful and grateful than angry, hateful or pessimistic in this season.
Alright, that’s enough of that. Go eat those leftovers before they get too old! And drop a line to let us know what you’re thankful for as well.
Gabriel Stovall is the thankful publisher and editor of The Covington News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.