A Thanksgiving Lesson With Judy Olson, C.S.B.

Dear God … Thank You for being You

From the November 21, 2016 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel by Judith Olson

I’ve always loved the old folk tale about the devil going out of business, selling all his tools. [There on display and offered for sale were the rapier of jealousy, the dagger of fear, and the strangling noose of hatred, each with its own high price. But standing alone on a purple pedestal, gleaming in the light was a worn and battered wedge –The Devil’s Wedge – Earl Nightingalel.]

And the most worn and highest priced one? It was a harmless-looking wedge called “discouragement.”

When asked why it was so expensive, the devil explained it was because it was his most valuable: “I can get into a person’s heart and mind with that one when I have no success with any other tool. Very few know that tool belongs to me.” Asked if there was a heart he couldn’t get a hold of with “discouragement,” he said, “Yes. A grateful one.”

I was at a low ebb—so discouraged and depressed, then physically ill. I’d always considered myself a grateful person, was always thanking God for every speck of good, etc. But now, thinking on this folk tale, I realized I hadn’t been alert to the “devil’s” taunts (in my case the sneaky thoughts that challenged the omnipotence of God, divine Love). They were chip-chip-chipping away at my thought till all that was left was a blue funk of self-pity.

So what did I do? First I talked right back (as Jesus did when he said, “Get thee behind me, Satan” [Matthew 16:23]). I said, “You can’t use ‘discouragement’ on me one more second!”

That was the absolute end of my blue funk and illness. Ever since then, the Bible’s reminder, “And be ye thankful,” is more precious and important than ever to me. I learned a lot from that experience. I learned that gratitude is more than a mealtime grace or holiday acknowledgment; it’s unceasing prayer—a constant, consistent recognition and appreciation of God’s nature, and of His guiding, guarding, governing of all.

Much has been written and spoken by pastors, doctors, educators, social workers, business and community leaders too, about the benefits of gratitude in our lives and its link to health, happiness, and success. Yes, there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that genuine gratitude is powerful.

The Bible is also full of accounts of people whose lives were transformed by gratitude, their difficulties overcome by it, their health restored by it. I love the Old Testament account of Jacob who, when feeling so alone and cut off from all good, exiled and en route to Haran, has a ladder vision (see Genesis 28). (No matter how far we feel from God, God’s grace always reaches us.) On this ladder came an angel, or God-thought, to Jacob—God’s promise that He would be with Jacob in every place wherever he went, would never leave him, would care for him and bring him back to his land.

  • Note -Special thanks to Judy Olson who gave us a private tour of the entire First Reader’s Residence (see photo below) during the Christmas/New Years holiday season 2015/2016.  It was a gift that meant the world to me during a very difficult time in my life.  I will always remember sitting and talking in the front parlor with her where Mrs. Eddy use to accept visitors. Love was right there with us.  That gift was then followed up with the creation of this website as another holiday gift during that same trip to Boston. Many examples of healing followed that visit as evidenced in this blog.





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