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Natalie Buske Thomas @buske_natalie
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🇺🇸⛪️✝️❤️THREAD ~ Special Sunday ~ Veteran's Day. Extraordinary, goosebumps. Even the smallest details may be important to someone, so I'll try my best to remember it all. Spiritual - philosophical - serendipitous in ways that are hard to chalk up as coincidence. Ready for church?
2) I'll first say: Something *HUGE* is impending - it will happen soon. I'm guessing that 100% of my followers have an awareness of this. PRAY. We will be ok. We will emerge from this stronger, better, and ready for a spiritual, creative, and intellectual awakening, a new world!
3) Next, let me remind you - and for those new to these threads - the church schedule for Bible readings is planned years in advance. Someone could try to sync predicted events alongside this calendar, or vice versa. Or, they are serendipitous, divine, coincidental. You decide.
4) Important to remember is that thousands of people read these same verses at the same time, on same day. So, a shared spiritual experience -not identical, but with overlapping collective awareness- happened all across the nation. And now, hopefully spread further. Let's start.
5) Our pastor is a big man, older Southerner. He looks like KFC's Sanders meets Santa Claus. My daughter just said, "that's pretty apt". 🤣He has a clever sense of humor, sometimes so subtle/dry that there's a delay in congregation's response, our brains slow to register the joke
6) Other times, his humor wraps around an odd Southern saying, that of course I don't get at all. Fortunately he often explains it. He is a good & kind man, spent much of his life with disaster relief, was there on scene for Hurricane Katrina, and still works at metro hospital.
7) Today, we learned he apparently also served in the Army - I don't know the details. But, I thought you should have a basic picture of who he is. There are men of God who teach, but do not put into practice any of their coaching. To be honest, I don't connect well with that.
8) I don't always agree with my pastor's politics, but I respect the man that he is. He walks the walk, talks the talk - he is selfless, hardworking, joyful, passionate and kind. He is not a passive person. I love it when he gets riled up. As a kid, he was a bit of trouble.
9) That's the man leading us. You'd like him. So, imagine a big booming Southern voice, sometimes talking too fast for me to make out all the words. He says quotable things, like this: "technology caught up to inhumanity". Talking about war can be dark & depressing, but reality.
10) The morning began with my family running late. Ugh, typical. And I'd forgotten about the potluck, so I rummaged thru the pantry, found a miracle unopened back of tortilla chips. I hurriedly made a cold layered dip, which I did not have time to taste test, & flew out the door.
11) We made it just before they started, but someone took our regular row of chairs, sitting smack in the middle (a person we know well, so that was odd, oh well). It's one of few rows with enough chairs for all of us, so we either had to scatter or drag a chair to add to a row.
12) Lone person sitting in middle of long row, while our family of five doesn't have enough chairs in row behind. I'd never ask her to move, of course, so I grabbed extra chair, which I then sat in. I soon discovered why row didn't have enough chairs. 🤣I was sort of in the way.
13) No matter how hard I try to be quiet & undetected, I always manage to inadvertently land in some sort of comedy. Ushers, piano player, etc. have to squeeze past me sitting in the far edge of the aisle, where I thought I'd be OUT of he way, but was directly IN the way. 🤣
14) I'm trying to let you experience this through my eyes. So, we're sitting behind the piano player, who was a last-minute second or third choice substitute... who was AMAZINGLY talented! Surely he was a professional - had to be. He played glorious intro to America the Beautiful
15) They presented the colors, asked all to stand up who were in military, or had family in military. At first, they named those listed in the bulletin. My husband's name was called and I thought he might lose it. He was a bit teary, and he's a crier, so I was like, here we go...
16) Even though I'd submitted my dad's name, it had been left off the bulletin, and I felt a bit sad about that. Dad's been gone so long, and lately I've talked about him a lot here with you on Twitter, because of the themes in my paintings and my children's book. In real life,
17) Not that this right now isn't real... I mean in my face-to-face life, no one knows Dad, never a reason to bring him up. He's just been sort of "gone" for many years, but I kept his memory alive for my kids... and my daughter was a little upset that he wasn't remembered...
18) There was a bit of whispery tug-of-war, where I was attempting to get her to drop it. She said SHE would stand up. I didn't want to make a big deal of it. Well... next thing I know, others stood up, who wanted their loved ones included. One by one, by one, by one...goosebumps
19) Each told briefly who their family member was who served, which branch. I think all wars were covered, all generations. As each stood up and spontaneously added themselves to those who were standing... it was incredibly emotional. Most of the church was standing by the time,
20) it got to me. I'd been standing for a while, but I'm a small person, barely over 5 feet tall. Man calling on people didn't see me. Members of the congregation started pointing to me. Once again, dramatically conspicuous when I intended to stand in Dad's honor without speaking
21) When called upon, I said, "My grandpa was a decorated WWll veteran, and my dad was in the Air Force, Vietnam War. Sadly, he died of cancer when he was 37." That's the first time I'd ever spoken of these things in a public forum. There was a sympathetic murmur & brief silence.
22) Talking about deeply sad personal things on the Internet is different from uttering them aloud in person. It feels like a burden I didn't even know I was carrying has fallen from my shoulders. I honored their memories, and the shame of being blacklisted by BLM and Antifa has
23) no power over me. My family is untarnished by my name on the Nazi list, by all that happened afterward. I have stood up for them. I have closure. It was healing. OK, I'm going to cry if I don't move on past this... so... moving on. (blinking eyes, ugh). So, after this, all
24) were working through their own memories. It was very quiet in the church. I don't recall much clapping... most were standing. People just sort of started sitting back down, as if to say, "we are done". We were all acknowledged, there was a shared empathy for stories untold.
25) My husband was among the youngest of the veterans, Desert Storm. I couldn't help but think, when I saw the ones representing their generation who fought in Vietnam War, that my dad would have been their age. I still imagine him as a young man, never aging. It seems all were
26) deeply lost in private pain... it didn't matter if which generation, young or old... all had stories we weren't telling, but were deep inside. The silence wasn't asked for. It was not an official moment of silence. It was a spontaneous quiet, as if all were lost in time...
27) it was one of the most moving things I've experienced. And then... the service seamlessly picked up again. The pastor said things fitting of a Veteran's Day service. During prayer he said, Help us to "look beyond our own needs and our own self, to see where we can serve"...
28) Today's readings by church calendar includes Psalm 127, scheduled worldwide to be read today. Final verse says "They will not be put to shame when they contend with their opponents in court" biblegateway.com/passage/?searc…
29) When serendipity lines up with faith, belief, trust, hopefulness, an openess toward spiritual mysteries... well, you decide if "opponents in court" is relevant to today. If, like me, you want math/logic - Bible has 807,361 words. How many times is "court" mentioned? Odds?
30) Does "opponents in court" feature heavily into today, this week? If you believe that it's no mistake that this Psalm was read today, by thousands of people, then be encouraged. God is definitely on our side. We are blessed, with many generations of children, in God's favor.
31) Next, I want to share with you something that is between you & me. Not a secret - I mean, I shared something with you... just you. It was only here that I posted this. My family wasn't involved in it, no one was.. but me and you. I'm talking about my fall art videos I shared.
32) I am blown away by this, and it will mean something to you too. When I share my painting sessions with you, I look for public domain and/or music artists have offered for us to use freely. That means a limited suggestion that can be somewhat random, beggars can't be choosers.
33) Christian site offered a few hymns that worked well for my art. I had never heard of this particular tune, didn't know the lyrics, was just looking for something to go with my art. I will re-share this now. Do you remember it? You may already know this song, but I didn't.
34) The same song was in this one, in the middle - needed second song because the tune I chose was too short to cover whole video. Anyway, 2 instances of this song, that I previously didn't even know... (although likely heard many times in the past without ever learning it).
35) Well, today was the 3rd instance of this song. We sang it from a new hymnal book. The tune was driving me nuts! I'm like, "Where have I heard this from and why does it seem like I've heard it over and over" 🤣my own videos, on running loop... shared with YOU. So, the lyrics?
36) "If My people's hearts are humbled,
If they pray and seek My face;
If they turn away from evil,
I will not withhold My grace.
I will hear their prayers
From Heaven;
I will pardon every sin.
If My people's hearts are humbled,
I will surely heal their land."
37) Then My eyes will see
Their sorrow,
Then My ears will hear their plea,
If My people's hearts are humbled,
I will set their nation free.
If My people's hearts are humbled,
If they pray and seek My face;
If they turn away from evil,
I will not withhold My grace"
38) So, we've shared a moment, me & you. We experienced this song together. I found a beautiful video of a church orchestra playing this song. Their choir sings about midway through
39) "Church" is anywhere we gather. You & I just had one of those serendipitous moments via Cyberspace, where real people have the opportunity to connect human to human, and sometimes beautiful moments happen. Music shared, lyrics meaningful. Back to the service, there's more...
40) Pastor: "War doesn't end when soldiers go home, when the generations pass... war lives on in our hearts, war goes on until the end of time" He moves on to talk of the Bible story about the woman who gave all she had, two small coins, which today would be worth about 80 cents.
41) Jesus said she had faith, because she gave all that she had. Pastor: "Not only all that we have, but all that we ARE is God's. We give of ourselves for a purpose. America is the land of the free, but also the land of the volunteers- give of ourselves because God blessed us."
42) "Embodying the concept of peace, those who have seen the horrors of war are proponents of peace. So too are those who serve and see the effects of war. While we remember the past - we hope for the days to come - we can choose to live in a culture of peace..."
43) "We, the children of God, living in the grace of 2018, on the 100th anniversary of the 'war to end all wars', which sadly did not; we are called to be the children of the Kingdom, and the Kingdom is at peace. Keep us mindful - be the peace that God envisions"
44) After such a lofty and powerful speech, our humble Pastor immediately took the edge off of it by cracking jokes about humility. He said, "I'm proud of my humility." After a brief pause, he got the expected chuckle. Except from a few like me, who laughed louder than the rest.
45) He said we should "listen rather than speak". I lost some of his speech. He gets going a bit too fast for me to keep up with my scrabbling of pen on paper. After years of typing, I've found it hard to write. I've forced myself to do more handwriting & it's getting better.
46) We sang patriotic hymns, like "God Bless America", which I sang for you here on Twitter. I will re-share. I sang louder than this at church because I was joined by so many other voices. Well - turns out my daughter & I's voices were noticed (more on that later in thread)
47) A little girl played patriotic medley on piano. It was played with passion, much appreciated. It wasn't one of those performances only enjoyed by the child's parents/grandparents. It was truly, genuinely, sweet and lovely. She was dressed so pretty in a red dress, hair styled
48) We sang "America the Beautiful" at the beginning. The one at the end was "God Bless America". My daughter and I belted both songs out. I didn't think we'd be heard over anyone else - was feeling the words so loudly in my heart. Somehow I just knew God was saying, we'll be OK.
49) Next, it was time for the potluck. I have traveled and lived in many places. And I've got to tell you. I'm lovin' a Southern potluck!!! WHOA you know you're in the deep South when there's Heaven in the church before you die. Pastor loves to cook, so he did a lot of it himself
50) smoked meat, homemade salads, pasta dishes, beans w homemade sauce, sandwiches w delicious sauce that my family wants to know more about, cake, cookies, ham...Remember my hastily made dip? Popular! Hadn't tried it before bringing! I never take that risk. Had some, whew, GOOD!
51) Waaay too much food, which my family LOVES! My husband & son especially love a potluck. But where to sit? We always dominate a table, since there are 5 of us. That means those without a clique join us. We ended up w/ the substitute piano player & his wife, not from our church
52) We were then joined by a founding member of the church who's wheelchair bound & had recently lost her sister, who many thought was her twin, given that they looked nearly identical, did everything together. She referred to us as "The Beautiful Voices", and
53) piano man said he could hear our beautiful voices while he was playing. I didn't know we'd be noticed, but that felt awesome - the conversation flowed fast after that. He mentioned he had been a Vaudeville performer when he was young. 30-40 shows a year. I *knew* it! He was a
professional, and had a special rich musical past. Fascinating! I was happy my daughter and I (my other kids may have been singing full out also, I wasn't standing next to them) were singing loudly, because if we hadn't, we may have missed out on the story. After piano man left,
55) Sorry, forgot to number previous tweet. After piano man left, the woman in the wheelchair, who was suffering from broken ribs, told many stories...and also shared how much she missed her sister. I seem to draw grieving people to me. I have a heart for those in pain.
56) Sometimes people want to know that others have been through grief, and that it is survivable, that it gets better. The sharpness fades, and one day, it's tolerable, and we can channel our pain into honoring our loved ones' memories by living a happy life. But... others just
57) need for us to listen. To let their memories be shared. To help her sister live on, because her stories are told. Just listen, just be present. Empathy. Feel another's pain, even if that feels uncomfortable and is not as fun as talking about Vaudeville. I will remember both.
58) The people I talked to today are in the twilight of their lives. Neither talked about politics. They talked about people and things they loved. For awhile, it was as if we shared an ageless time and space, in which their time was my time. History was past, present, and future
59) All of the things I mentioned in my very long thread happened in the space of an hour and a half, on a cool autumn Veteran's Day in coastal Georgia. No one mentioned the Gov race. None of that existed this morning. I hope that my church notes & experience encouraged you today
60) I tried to remember every detail, but probably forgot some things. Music was planned, but sound system didn't cooperate, so no music while we ate together. If music had worked, would it have been easy to talk? The woman in the wheelchair was on oxygen, could hardly hear her.
61) I believe I'm meant to share these serendipitous moments, for you to internalize your own way, adding it to what you already know, and what you experience yourself this week. Just add it to the pile of coincidences until you can no longer deny yourself the joy of faith -
62) Peace comes from knowing, that no matter what happens, we are loved, and love is forever. If we've lost someone, we'll see them again. Every detail is predestined, the future may be rewritten, and the past is still with us. America, we'll be OK. God bless you. /end thread/
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