Thanksgiving. It’s that unique American holiday when most of us think families and friends all around the country gather at some familial location to eat, watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade on television, catch up on happenings that occurred over the last year, and indulge too much in everything. Unfortunately, there are thousands who are too poor for the traditional holiday fair, and others who are homeless without a comfortable place to lay their heads.
The start of this year’s holiday season has a different flavor to it for my family. This is the first start of the season to be without my mother. Although the last few years prior to her passing this past July, weren’t the same, due to her slowly losing touch with us, she was still here physically. Alzheimer’s is an unfair competitor who wins in the end. My mother’s sister-in-law also lost her battle with Alzheimer just a few weeks after mom this year, too. Yesterday, we had a few folks over for a Thanksgiving meal. My wife’s nieces and her brother-in-law were here without my wife’s sister, who passed one year ago four days before Thanksgiving. (I’ve intentionally left names out, which I trust doesn’t lessen the message I’m attempting to communicate.)
The title of this piece is “Thanksgiving 2018.” You might be wondering why I am talking about such sad events as the transitioning of loved ones. Through all the eating, talking and fellowship yesterday, I found myself thinking about the ladies I just mentioned. As I thought more about them, I began to think about them in terms of thankfulness. I felt thankful for the experiences that I and so many others were blessed to enjoy through having them in our lives. Sure, having them with us in the flesh would be preferable; however, the love, joy and comfort they shared with all who knew them, seeded an indelible legacy that will live in the hearts and minds of all of who knew them until our time of transition. Can you think of anything to be more thankful for than that?
Love of God, family and whomever in the community we form strong bonds with is what makes life an experience we can be thankful for each day. As we go through this holiday season, let’s earnestly seek out those things that generate thankfulness in our hearts, rather than what we grab up at Black Friday sales. They have the power to bring joy into our hearts, regardless of anything else that cast dark shadows in our path.
I usually have no idea what I’m going to say whenever I sit down to my laptop to write. Because of this, I must admit to something to which I would be remiss if I didn’t dedicate some words. There is another lady I ‘ll mention here who has had a similar impact in the lives of many. My oldest child’s mother passed away a few weeks ago. She had lived a challenging life, going through each day with Sickle Cell Anemia. I’m thankful that though her life was hard, she dedicated much of it to raising our daughter, instilling in her good life lessons which I see coming to fruition daily.
I’m old and blessed…hope you will be too.
P.S. Always be thankful.