Friday, November 26, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

I hope each and every one of your had a good Thanksgiving, whatever that may have entailed. It is one of those particular days, like Prom, New Year's Eve, etc. where one is expected to have a wonderful memory-making day. There is a lot of pressure for good food, good company, and happy memories. If that is what you were hoping for and got it, I am very happy for you. For those who fell short, I get it. It is not easy to always be "on" or to be cheerful.

I am sure that you tend to call to mind, and remind all the children within hearing distance, that some people have no food to eat. And nowhere to sleep. No family to enjoy.

Our particular community has some tremendous resources. But I always think during grace that there are far too many people out there, everywhere, who are not surrounding a table circled by people they love. It hurts knowing this and I imagine you have all felt this way at Thanksgiving or Christmas.

Another challenge I find in these types of gatherings is that I usually feel alone in a room full of people I care about. While there is no shortage on conversation and kitchen tasks, I have this odd sensation that I am really not there, just my body. Have you ever felt alone in a crowded room? As if you are somehow so different that it sets you apart?

This year we had a great day at our neighbors, the Sauberans. This is the family where the boys have stayed when Craig and I have been in Seattle for medical things. It was a good day. The kids were busy playing, downstairs, thank goodness! The adults were upstairs all working on the dishes each were to contribute. I tried a questionable pumpkin pie and an apple caramel pie, which Misty dropped on the floor as she was putting it in the oven. (Sorry Misty, just had to dig!). I also did some side dishes and chocolate mouse. It was a fun but tiring day. Finally I hit my limit and it was time to go home.

Despite how much I enjoyed the day, and despite the knowledge that I actually made it to and through the holiday, not having to stay at home, I admit I had that sense of loneliness. The house was filled with people I love, people I want to talk to and know better, yet that damn sensation of being alone persisted. I was ashamed that when at dinner we went around the table to say what we each were grateful for and I had nothing to say. I literally had to take a pass. I was unable to articulate my feelings. It is almost impossible for me to describe the vast number of things I am grateful for. And I am unable to this, apparently, with so much I am not grateful for and resent, all at the same time. Realistic but sad. I should have done better, and done better for my children.

I was sent these words of wisdom, written by the late Erma Bombeck. Most of you know it is a very rare day that I forward an email. But I would like to share this, as it reminded me of many simple things to be grateful for, even when one is at a loss of their own personal reasons:

(written after she found out she was dying from cancer).

I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren't there for the day.

I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage.

I would have talked less and listened more.

I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained, or the sofa faded.

I would have eaten the popcorn in the 'good' living room and worried much less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace.

I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth.

I would have shared more of the responsibility carried by my husband.

I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.

I would have sat on the lawn with my grass stains.

I would have cried and laughed less while watching television and more while watching life.

I would never have bought anything just because it was practical, wouldn't show soil, or was guaranteed to last a lifetime.

Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I'd have cherished every moment.

When my kids kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, 'Later. Now go get washed up for dinner.' There would have been more 'I love you's' More 'I'm sorry's.'

But mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute.look at it and really see it . live it and never give it back. STOP SWEATING THE SMALL STUFF!

Don't worry about who doesn't like you, who has more, or who's doing what
Instead, let's cherish the relationships we have with those who do love us.

Think about how much time and effort goes in to appearances and doing things right. And boy do I need to work on that one!

In closing, even with our shoulders heavy from burden, uncertain futures, and obstacles that seem unable to overcome, there is always something to be grateful for. It may be little or big, but it's there. Just open your eyes.

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