My Worst Thanksgiving


As we are all enjoying the last few hours of Thanksgiving Break, I wanted to share my most memorable Thanksgiving. All though at the time it was one of the worst things I could have imagined, it ended up being a powerful events in my life.

So it started the Friday before Thanksgiving. It was the last few weeks of my student teaching. In education, you spend the last semester of college doing in the classroom training called student teacher, where you gradually take the reigns as the full time teacher. I was in the midst of that when I heard my name being called to the front office. I asked the regular education teacher to take over, while I went to the office and figured out what happened. I thought maybe I was parked in the wrong spot or something in the parking lot.

However, when I got to the office, one of the deacons from my church and a long time family friend was up there. He broke the news to me. He told me there was no easy way to put it, and that my house had burned down. I was floored. Literally. I fell to the ground and was just shocked.

After he consoled me, I returned to the classroom and collected my things. Thankfully, the teacher was very understanding and let me leave early. I drove back with a colleague who I was carpooling with at the time.

When I arrived back in town, I went to our church where  my mother and sister were. They were crying uncontrollably. I consoled them as best I could. They were completely heartbroken because we had several pets, that we were certain did not make it out.

My former youth pastor drove me over to the house and I saw the wreckage of the house. Several of the local fire departments were there, however, none of them were able to salvage or contain the fire. They were essentially just making sure it didn’t spread. As I arrived, I saw them knocking down my bedroom wall.

In the days that followed, we were tasked with cleaning up the ashes of the house. I spent most of my Thanksgiving Break sifting through the debris for anything that was salvageable.

In spite of all the chaos and bad memories, I learned several important life lessons from this event.

  1. In tough times, you learn who your real friends are. It may sound cliche, but when this happened, my best friend was in the air force. He somehow got emergency leave and was able to come home for a week and help my family out. He bought my sister and me a bunch of new clothes.
  2. The importance of stuff (or lack thereof). After the fire, I was very shocked to learn that all my stuff was gone. My clothes, my movies, my CDs, and all of my video games. However, all was not lost. My family was safe, because fortunately, no one was in the house when it happened, and even though we lost everything, we were completely reimbursed by the insurance.
  3. God has a plan. Long before the fire, my dad worked with a business partner and built two houses. One sold quickly, but the other didn’t. We were able to move into that new house after a few weeks and were set up thanks to this unforeseen circumstance.