In light of one of the most celebrated American holidays, my mind is cued into what is coming. Gathering of family...the ones you don't see enough of and the ones you see too much of and the ones who walk with you through life and the ones who don't really know you. Indulging in food...the perfectly roasted turkey and the gollups of mashed potatoes and the whipped topping on top of pumpkin pies and the cranberry sauce that always leaves a stain. The football games, too...filled bellies sprawled out on couches and carpets while men snore between plays and children giggle as they find a new friend in that cousin they chase around the house. And women gather where they always gather. In the kitchen, together again. Sinks full of dishes and coffee being poured.
And on this day as families and friends gather for these predictable moments a word of thanks often gets squeezed into the day, just as predictable as the people there, the food being eaten, and the football watching that happens.
Thanksgiving...a word of thanks, a moment spoken for all we see through the hurried eyes. Family. Friends. Health. Faith. And sometimes even football.
I love what thanksgiving represents in so many ways. I love family time. I love big meals shared together. I love my boys watching football. I love giving thanks. But my hurried ways have been shaken in my recent years...and thanksgiving has become more of a thanks-giving. Thanks giving...not your one day out of the year celebration, but an every day offering that involves more then the basic family, friends, faith, and football gratitude.
During one of my most difficult seasons of life, I felt really called to slow down and learn how to really say thanks. A habit of thanks giving can change a heart. It can change a life, really. As I ached inside, I let the hurt slowly be released in the way I started to say thank you. In what I saw, when I slowed down. And I counted. All of it. And it really started to add up.
18. soft puppies
101. my swing
210. courageous friends
315. 5 year old boy
498. a hug
577. chatting with Grandma
641. a heartbeat
895. a calm mind
933. good husbands
987. painted boys
And there is more. More written down and more coming. It never stops. Unlike the one day of Thanksgiving, thanks giving keeps going...and going. Slow is the only way to live a life of full thanks giving and in the rush of our days passing by, one must see slow enough to not miss what is being offered each and every day.
So I look forward to what Thanksgiving will bring to my life. But I truly live breathing the habit of thanks giving. Alive and awake to what is being given to fill me up on His grace, His love for me, His thanks giving to my life. And in return, as I count these gifts and say thank you, I know that I must pass the main dish and offer that same grace to those gathering around my table of life.
I will gather in a few days and enjoy an all American Thanksgiving meal with loved ones. I will say thank you for family and friends and health and football. And I will mean it. But when the day is over, I know that my thanks offering will lead me into the next year when I gather again for the very same meal and the very same faces and the very same routine of what Thanksgiving is supposed to look like. For me, thanks giving happens every day. And when it doesn't, I know my life will be a few portions short of being full. Thanks giving...counting what I see, sharing what feeds me. Filling a life.