Thanksgiving 2010. A day of love, gratitude, laughter, togetherness, encouragement, great food, awesome drink, and a lot of family time. Our holiday went from up to down, side to side, back to front, top to bottom and all around on the emotional scale. There was happy and sad, mad and glad, tears and smiles. My feelings surrounding holidays are sometimes difficult to navigate. The celebratory waters unpredictable and unstable. Years ago, when my world cracked in half , what I knew as a "normal" holiday changed. Since then, an air of challenge and difficulty surrounds most holidays. We have to manage our holidays in a more rigid manner than I would like, and even though this has been the "new normal" for a while, I still have moments during the day when the "not-fairs" and the "this isn't how it's supposed to be's" rear their un-friendly faces. These faces aren't ever issued a formal invitation to join me, they just show up. A surprise slug to the stomach reminding me of the pain of loss and injustice; A slap to the face stinging of shame and sadness of what went wrong and the impossibility of fixing it for those I love. Thank goodness the slugs and slaps come and go quickly, and soon I get back on track toasting the Holiday with a new half-filled glass. With strength, prayer and a quick glance through the lenses of truth, I ignore what is wrong, and instead see what's completely RIGHT with my world. I refocus my attitude and my eyes to see the goodness, the love, and the beauty that surrounds me. I see the faces of my beautiful, healthy, happy, "better-adjusted-to-our-new-normal-than-their-mother" children. I see my husband who loves me. I see my mom who makes every holiday amazing and endures my holiday-grumpies with grace. I see my sister and brother who I can laugh and cry with. I see my dad who hugs and supports me. I see my nieces , my brother-in-law and my sister-in-law completing the picture of Thanks in my heart. It's never a perfect holiday, but when perfection isn't the goal, it doesn't matter. What is better than perfection is what keeps us celebrating together year after year. It's the ribbon of family, tying each of us together with our goodness and badness, our happys and sads all along for the ride. It's the bonds of moments we've had in the past and the ones we trust are just down the road. Its the balance of knowing all about each other and loving each other just as we are - anyway. For that ... I am thankful.
As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord. Joshua 24:15
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Spread love everywhere you go: first of all in your own house. Give love to your children, to your wife or husband, to a next door neighbor... Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God's kindness; kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile, kindness in your warm greeting.
This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.” -Shakespeare-Hamlet