Coming up on a big ol’ holiday; my favorite. Christmas is beautiful and holy and wonderfully twinkly and all that, but it’s work for me, and so I have claimed Thanksgiving as The Holiday That Is Best of All.
I try to live in a state of gratitude, anyway – and now that some of my kids have grown up and left home, this Thursday in November marks a time when we are together again, whole in some good, solid, primal way. It is the food, yes; but it is the time, more. It is right now, with bodies draped across couches and blankets and a favorite show on TV, with comments and statements and a general lightness to the world. It is waking them up in the morning, catching that rare innocence while they sleep that reminds me of their smaller selves, the days when they fit in my arms. It is somehow the air itself, lighter. Sweeter.
So these next few days will be full and fat with love and hope and laughter. Too many people will be crammed in a house that is built to hold love, and we will burst with the joy of it all. And I am thinking tonight of the things for which I must give thanks, the things outside of what will fill this house this week.
Thank you for inviting me into the world of music, for teaching me about partnership and accompaniment; it was great training for learning to lead from the second chair (or the piano bench).
Thank you for writing me letters that were witty and personal, welcoming my adolescent self into adulthood with your unique voice.
Thank you for being a friend as you cared for me; your teenaged job was an investment in my maturity, and to this day I believe you always believed in me.
Thank you for being bold enough to stand in the church driveway and say, “I don’t think He is finished with you, yet…”
Thank you for telling me that the power of charisma and persuasion and leadership is not to be taken lightly; considering it as a force to be used for good or evil has tempered me on more than one occasion, and that is a good thing.
Thank you for letting an hour-long piano lesson be a counseling session, and never letting on that you knew I was ashamed.
Thank you for sending me $150 and never, ever asking why I needed it.
Thank you for asking me a hard question about my faith and not letting me get away with my lousy answer.
Thank you for forgiving me.
Thank you for giving me your words.
Thank you for welcoming me, for never asking when we would leave, for never letting me see an end to your love and grace.
Thank you for seeing me, and for loving what you saw, and for convincing me that you’d never stop.
Thank you for singing your heart for me.
Thank you for your generosity, for showing me how to be open-handed.
Thank you for forgiving me when I neglect our friendship, and for still calling it a friendship.
Thank you for coming home.