Posted by: minnow | November 24, 2011

I Am Thankful

Today is Thanksgiving.  Pies are made, the turkey is in the oven, and the potatoes are peeled and ready to go.  Soon my house will be a bustle of people.  A couple may join me (briefly) in the kitchen but most will watch the Green Bay game or the parade and the Green Bay game.  My husband, our children, and my father will be here for dinner which will probably begin around 1:30.  Clean up will probably start around 2:00 (since it always takes less time to eat Thanksgiving dinner than to fix it).  Clean-up will be followed or accompanied by more football and maybe a few board games or some cards.

My youngest son spent the night.  He moved out not quite a month ago so this is a new phase.  His oldest brother is “looking”.  We won’t have many more holidays with all of us together.  In fact–this season’s worth (at least through Easter) could be the last.  I love having these people in my life.  I love listening to them tease and tell stories on each other.  I am blessed by how much they enjoy one another’s company and how deeply they care about their brothers and sister(s).  Of course they’ve each had their moments but the bond is strong and I believe, for the most part, will remain.

I have always said my children are my most favorite people in the world.  That is never more true than around the holidays!  Around the holidays they seen unburdened, more at peace.  They always love life.  But “on break” I can see it more clearly.  They engage.  They carry joy with them.  They all make GREAT missionaries–not in the legal definition of the word (though some might eventually do that too), but in the metaphorical sense.  They are lights.  They are connectors.  They have pain and weakness and strength and goodness they are not afraid to share.  That character trait makes them accessible outside our family walls as well as within.

Today is Thanksgiving.  And I am thankful.  But I am also discontent.  And sad.  And angry.  I am disappointed–not with what I have–but with what I have done with what I have.  I know, I am on a journey and I can always make better choices “next time”.  But the truth is–my “next times” are limited.  I only have so much time here, where what I do can/does make a difference.  And what I do not do makes a difference as well.

Today is Thanksgiving.  And, I am incredibly thankful.  I am healthy.  I have a healthy family.  I have a roof over my head, food on my table, and warm, clean clothes to wear.  I have neighbor’s who are willing to let me borrow their car and people who encourage me in school and in my life.  I am blessed.  But I have also been given eyes to see and I am keenly aware that while I eat my turkey dinner others do not have turkey to eat.  And while my husband and I are surrounded by our children others stare at empty chairs.

I do not want to turn joy to sadness, bring others down with my dose of reality, or fail to be grateful for what I’ve been given.  But I also long to live a life aware.  And follow a path of equity and justice.  I want to embrace the good yet strive for the best.  A friend of my husband signs all his correspondences with the phrase–walk in balance.  Balance isn’t a given.  Balance must be practiced.

Part of balance is understanding all is not well with the world but that is not the last word.  Part of balance is opening our eyes to the differences we can make and knowing that being thankful for what we have is the best place to start.

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