“When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude.” ―
Our Thanksgiving was smaller this year. Well, sort of. A new member was born into the family a few weeks before and we decided to stay home and recover. There was great weather, an over the top smoked turkey and a soon to be four-year-old bouncing around the house (he is the epitome of joy!).
I ended up washing a lot of dishes (loading and unloading the dishwasher). It was a contribution I could make. Keeping my hands busy usually lets my mind wander. There is so much to notice in someone else’s house, things and situations that can light up little fires of reflection. Watching my daughter with her new child, conversations at the counter with my grandson over macaroni & cheese, searching in a strange cupboard for ingredients to cook with – all filling my mind and heart with memory. Gratitude is certain to break through in that sunlit happiness.
“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” ―
As I washed I could look out the big window over the sink. That soon to be four-year-old tornado bounced around pitching balls into a hoop. Always a big smile. Never walking anywhere, galloping back and forth. And the next time I see him he will be different. That’s how children are, they keep moving and they keep changing. How did I live before he arrived? Now his sister is here, who will I now become? I guess we think adults are always the same, but maybe life is changing us all time too. We can see our children transform before our eyes. Perhaps looking more carefully, we could see our friends and family changing too – and be present and be a blessing and be thankful.
There were platters, plates, bowls and pitchers to clean up. Many reminded me of a wedding. That big day then reminds me of a relationship that started so many years before. I’m standing with my hands in the sink filled with soapy water of blissful memories. All around in that house filled up to brimming with a relationship that makes me think of a garden that blossoms, puts out deeper roots, casts an inviting shade and beckons others to come and sit to enjoy a beauty – the result of an unending promise. Each relationship that passes through my life is a treasure of hope, all too often taken for granted.
Clearing and cleaning up a Thanksgiving meal reminded me of past feasts when this dish or that had been passed down, prepared and enjoyed. So many have stories included in each recipe. They are rich in calories and memories. We ate our pieces of pie near the fire late at night and shared a story that came like a dollop of whipped cream. All these stories were made by the people in our lives. They help to make us who we are, just like they faithfully roll out that flakey pie crust. Our lives are filled with stories. I think it’s important to figure out the important ones that define who you are and who you are becoming. Listen to the stories around you and learn how to tell your own.
While driving back home, with no one to talk with, I was able to file away all the little things that really did matter so much. Sometimes, talking is overrated. Getting your files in order works wonders.
“You pray in your distress and in your need; would that you might pray also in the fullness of your joy and in your days of abundance.” ―