By Danni Eickenhorst, Midland Division
“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” — William Arthur Ward
You may not realize this, but we writers don't often get the opportunity to take jobs where we can write about the things we love. In fact to be quite honest, many of the paid writing jobs I've taken in the past were quite the opposite. This year, I was blessed with the opportunity to serve as the voice for The Salvation Army's Midland Division, and I feel like I have won the lottery.
Nights around the dinner table in my home have certainly changed. Where once I didn't have much to say about my day at work (There wasn't much compelling to share on the days I spent drafting business proposals.), there have been days I have come home and wept with joy that God gave me an opportunity to help someone that day, or simply to listen to them when they clearly needed to be heard. I've made friends in some of the most unlikely places, and I've been privileged enough to tell stories that will certainly change lives.
I recently celebrated six months with The Salvation Army, and in that time, I have met more incredible people than some will meet in their entire lifetime, and have witnessed much of this year of miracles in The Salvation Army - running at a breakneck pace (often with a backpack, a camera and a three piece suit!) to keep up with officers as the Army swoops in to answer the call of yet another disaster, all the while tending to their regular food pantry and social service clients and droves of new ones too.
I served in Joplin on and off throughout the summer, and immediately following the storm, listening to the stories of those who wanted to speak, and connecting others with the resources and help that they needed. I wrote and co-produced two films based on the Army's work in Missouri and Southern Illinois, and I daily break bread with single mothers fighting for their families, criminals who have found God, senior citizens to whom we give real quality of life and some phenomenal officers and volunteers.
This year, I am thankful for the resources to help those in need; for the people who have shared with me their incredible and at times, heartbreaking stories; for our faithful masses who share our stories and for whatever effect they may be having on those that read them - whether it be compelling a donation of time, prayers or goods.
This year marks my first "Tree of Lights" campaign with The Salvation Army, but as we go into this kickoff weekend with all of its many events, and even more to come, look for me in the crowd with the rest of you, eyes aglow with merriment and wonder at the birth of my Lord and Savior and the amazing work of this incredible organization. There isn't a day that goes by that I'm not thankful for this gift.