Reflections On Thanksgiving

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Thanksgiving 2010 – I was reflecting on this last year and feeling all the changes both good and bad.

I was thinking how at this time last year my world had just begun to take a new turn and my heart was beginning an inevitable break. I remember that wild swing, particularly between October and December, between frantic fever-dreamed hope and moments of true despair. And I remember the point where I faced the reckoning of where I had to go. It was a shattering place I was in last year when we carved the turkey.

I hope I never return to those long roads and days. It truly was one of the harshest winters of my life. And considering I’ve had some dark days to say that is saying a lot. It was a very difficult time in my life. One of the handful of true life changers that we get in the totality of our lives. Understanding that my dream had not fully formed even as it was falling away from me. Accepting that God had given me something I wasn’t sure I had it in me to take on. And then believing that I would somehow rise up and find it after all.

Deciding to love with all of my heart and live with my arms wide open in the dust of a brand new mess. And choosing to build a new dream from the pieces left to me. Seeing that beauty in my life actually made bigger by my imperfections and in spite of me was a growing thing. There is beauty in this chaos.

I am happy to say I stood to the challenge and I grew up. The good things I had I instinctively gravitated to. While I swung through those high winds and began to navigate a foreign new land it was the good things I chose to build up that saw me through. I poured light out and in and did my best to continue to live out loud. I accepted help and comfort I think with some grace. I collect it all still waiting patiently for my chance to pay it back out into the world. I am grateful to the people who helped me get through, who were patient with me, who are still letting me find my feet.

And gratitude? I am somehow filled to overflowing with it this year. Over the carving of the turkey, I felt no sorrow at all. It was a simple sweet gratitude I felt watching my daughter and husband wrangle over the wishbone break. It was with a near but removed careful watchfulness that I saw Nicholas cruise around the table trying to re-enact the wishbone game. I heard the voices and watched the faces of my loved ones as if I was sketching them into my mind. I was there and present yet it was as if I was gifted with a gently removed perspective at times. I flowed quietly within on a sweet singing sense of gratitude. There were no words but there was the tune and I enjoyed the trappings of this holiday in this year in a way that I’m not sure I ever have or ever will again. I floated along in moments of sheer gratitude. I am unspeakably grateful for the life I’ve been given. All of it.

When I think of myself I see the strength of family. I understand, for the first time in my life, the absolute importance of my role. I no longer overlook how important it is to provide a warm and inviting home. I know I make up the center here. If I remain calm and willing to hold my ground through the wind taking on faith that the calm will return in any storm I can see myself through. If I see to my job with a dedicated heart then my family thrives. And so do I.

I look at my family and I feel blessed. They are works of art. They are my life’s work. And they are so beautiful for all their bumps and dings. I did not have to give myself up to see that through. It makes me proud. I am stronger than I thought. I have it in me to carry a daffodil through a hurricane. I am amazed at that.

I am grateful this year. I am grateful to be out on the other end. I was not sure last year that I would make it but I have. There is light, joy, purpose, and happiness. I am richly and abundantly blessed. I am overflowing with sweet little gifts that I think many spend their entire lives missing. I see them in my life. For this I am thankful.

When I look out into the yard with all of is Autumn fire, all those whorls of red, orange, and amber I still feel that sensation of God having provided His finest work in the crisp winds of Fall. I see it and feel it gathering up all of summers grinning pink watermelon hues and Coppertone scents and all the lazy gluttony to put it to fire in the short weeks before winter drapes and blots everything out. Autumn is the gathering together of spent things for the burning. It is making the way for us to start all over again. I see Autumn as the burning time. It burns it all away so that only what matters will remain when the snow melts again. Only those things that leave the deepest prints are left to begin again. Autumn is an outward season but it reminds me of how the soul must also periodically burn parts of itself out and begin again. We are inward reflections of nature and we too are ruled by seasons.

And though the sun has set on Thanksgiving 2010 and I cannot see this showey finery from my darkened windows. I am comforted as I sit under the strings of newly hung Christmas lights with cocoa in hand. What has the watchword been this year I wonder? Last year it had been faith and the year before it had been growth but what of this year? And it comes to me easily in the quiet of this moment. The thing that will leave its print through the high winds and hide there under the snow to return again in the Spring is gratitude and the love of this family.

So, life is good. I am thankful for this. And I definitely can see God here even though it is dark outside and the leaves are covered up. He twinkles in the light around our window frame and radiates up in the warmth of the circle of this family where I sit. I am loved. And I deeply love the ones who are loving me. I am grateful to have spent this healing year here with the people who matter, the people I love no matter what. It really doesn’t need to get much better than that.

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