It’s so easy for thanksgiving to become something other than it ought to be. We get wrapped up in the rituals- from food preparation to bargain hunting – and the warm fuzziness of it all. That isn’t to say that we don’t think of others. Our little family spends time each Thanksgiving weekend decorating a “home away from home” for families who are visiting Central Florida as part of a wish program. They stay at the Give Kids the World Village for a week or so, in a villa (really a nicely kept duplex) with access to all that a family might need on vacation – including tickets to the area attractions and any medical services that might come up. We take a tree and all the trimmings out to the village so that the families here during the holiday season will have a warmly decorated home to stay in. I give thanks for the sponsors and donors who make it possible for these families to be well-cared for and care-free for a short time.
The past year or so has been quite the roller coaster in many ways, but I found so much to give thanks for. The fact that we were able to book a family cruise that provided that very same escape and care for us that the GKTW families experience. The moments when God was present in my despair. The many, many people who have prayed with me and for me as I have felt the weight of family needs. The moments that hope came crashing through frustration. The laughter and joy and love that we share almost every day. The dog that greets us and longs for time just being near, reminding us that sitting still together is a powerful thing.
In some ways, it feels crazy to sit and list all the things we’re thankful for when there really are things that are quite worrisome and others that remain unresolved. Like some accentuate the positive routine that ignores the reality of life. And I’m a mostly optimistic person to begin with! But the truth is that I NEEDED to look around and realize that even if I could only list some essentials, we are so very far ahead of too many people – we have our jobs. Our home. Our cars. Our health.
Perhaps we could simplify our Thanksgiving Holidays a little more – I could do without the food craziness. And we didn’t do that much shopping this year or last. But the ritual that must remain and expand beyond a day or week is the reflection and giving of thanks.