Monday, November 24, 2014

Morgan Griffith's Thanksgiving Message. Sort Of.

U.S. Representative Morgan Griffith gives thanks amidst some bad news...

Giving Thanks, Attitudes are Contagious
While there are many important national issues deserving discussion, this week is a time of Thanksgiving. We all have things for which we should be grateful.  But if you are like most, you or a loved one have likely experienced some trials and tribulations during the last year as well.
I was recently reminded of this when my colleague, Congressman Alan Nunnelee (R-MS), returned to the House of Representatives.  While in Washington in early May, Congressman Nunnelee began experiencing nausea and fatigue.  Following consultation with a doctor, Congressman Nunnelee went to a hospital and underwent an MRI scan.  As a result of this scan, doctors found a small abnormality on the right side of his brain, which doctors ultimately confirmed was a small intracranial mass, a brain tumor.
Congressman Nunnelee underwent surgery on June 9, and his doctors were able to successfully remove the mass.  However, as a result of a stroke he suffered during the surgery, Congressman Nunnelee experienced some complications including difficulty with his speech and mobility on his left side.  Congressman Nunnelee spent this summer recovering and undergoing regular therapy in order to improve both his speech and mobility.  Statements released by his office at the time indicate that his doctors were pleased with his progress, but confirmed that his follow-up treatment would require radiation and chemotherapy.  Following his treatment, he has returned to work in our nation’s capital.
According to a June 20 statement from his office, Congressman Nunnelee communicated to his family and staff:
“Attitudes are contagious, so you better make sure yours is worth catching.” 
What a positive, inspiring perspective.
Congressman Nunnelee recently gave the opening prayer at one of the House Republicans’ regular meetings, quoting I Thessalonians 5:18:
“Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
I couldn’t help but reflect on this choice and on Congressman Nunnelee’s message that morning. 
“I am glad the scripture in Thessalonians does not say to give thanks for all circumstances,” Congressman Nunnelee says, “because I would have a difficult time being thankful for a tumor or a stroke, much less both.  I have learned the way to approach the difficulty of stroke rehabilitation is to give thanks in all circumstances.”
Though we may not be thankful for hardships such as tumors, strokes, etc., we ought to be thankful in all situations for our blessings and that with which we have been provided in order to deal with health scares and other tribulations.
As Thanksgiving draws near, I am reminded of the many things for which I am grateful, including my wife, my children, and my health.  I am thankful to have the opportunity to serve our community, first in the state legislature and now in the halls of Congress. 
I am deeply thankful in the Lord for these blessings and others bestowed upon me and my family, and for the blessings on this nation, where a man or woman can determine their fate by the sweat of their brow and their ingenuity.  This is true no matter what family you are born into or whom you are fortunate enough to know.
In preparing this column, I looked into some of my books for additional guidance on Thanksgiving messages.  While doing so, I found the “Old 100th” as a hymn listed under ‘Thanksgiving’ in my 1952 Book of Common Prayer/Hymnal:
Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow;Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
How very meaningful, the familiar words of the “Old 100th.”
Like Congressman Nunnelee, many in the Ninth District have experienced losses that we are not thankful for, but we remain thankful in the Lord for the blessings that have been bestowed upon us.  To again borrow from Congressman Nunnelee,
“I am thankful in this circumstance and pray you find yourself doing the same.”
May God bless each and every one of you, and may God bless these United States.  Best wishes to you, your family, and your friends for a safe and happy Thanksgiving.

As always, if you have questions, concerns, or comments, feel free to call my Abingdon office at 276-525-1405 or my Christiansburg office at 540-381-5671.  To reach my office by email, please visit my website at