Friday, November 23, 2012

Do We Stop Giving Thanks?

Thanksgiving is over, and I'm all for a day of rest. I imagine for most people, Thanksgiving Day was a rather ordinary day...ordinary only in that you gather family and close friends together and have the usual turkey, dressing, and cranberry sauce dinner, or whatever your personal traditional dinner is. You revel in the love you feel from every one around the dinner table. You treasure the time spent, when quite possibly "family" means pulling in relatives from all over the country and you know that doesn't happen often. It is, perhaps, the one day of the year that those you care about the most are all in one place at the same time, and you are right in the big middle.

For us, this Thanksgiving was very different. It is the first holiday since my son was diagnosed with a very rare form of dementia, and it was a day devoted to a multitude of feelings. Frustrations were high, with a little bit of anger underneath, love, disappointment, fear, surprise, tears, and not a little grief...all mixed up in such a way it was difficult to even sort them out. It was not our usual day, in any respect, and underlying everything was the thought in everyone's mind that this may well be the last Thanksgiving we have with my son.

We finished dinner, and continued our conversation without my son's interjections. I looked around the table and saw tears in my 21 year old grandson's eyes as he looked at his father. I knew what his thoughts were, and I knew they were the same in the minds of my husband, my wonderful daughter-in-law , and in the good friends who were present.

I started thinking about Thanksgiving, and what it was all about. I thought about  the word itself...Thanks Giving...and how we should be giving thanks to our Lord for all of our blessings. And then I looked at my son, and I wondered: Do I stop 'giving thanks' when I feel right now like there is so little to be thankful for? Where are my blessings now?

Right there, sitting at the table. That's where my blessings were, except for my daughter and her family, who couldn't be with us. I could look at my son, and not see him as he is, but as he was...a wonderful boy who grew into a handsome, intelligent, responsible man, husband, and father. He was my blessing every day of his life, and will be until there is no more life. My husband, my daughter-in-law, my grandson, friends...all are blessings in a personal world turned upside down by life's quirks.

Do we stop giving thanks? For a while this summer, it would not have done to ask me that question, for I was too hurt and too angry at God to give a responsible answer. Now, I know the answer is No, we don't. We each have our own blessings to be thankful for, even if the world has given us a rotten shake. After all, we can always look around and see someone whose "shake" has been even more "rotten" than ours.

This Thanksgiving was very different, very hard. Nevertheless, most of my blessings were right there at the table with me. Even so, today I felt the need to put my feelings here, for those to read who wished to do so. I may not be "purged" so to speak, but now I can go on to the other blessings around me, and get back to writing.

Thank you for listening.

Until next time,
That's a wrap.