A Week Of Gratitude – Day 1

It’s the week of Thanksgiving – my favorite week of the year. It’s always been my favorite holiday, mostly because it’s simply about being home and together and that’s my favorite thing. Christmas is awesome, of course; but in the world of church life, it’s one of the busiest, most stressful and exhausting times of the year. Thanksgiving falls in the middle of the week…it’s a few days away from Sunday…it’s just about perfect, in my book.

When my kids were younger and we alternated holidays with their dad, we created a Fake Thanksgiving every other year. One year, they arrived home from school on Tuesday and the table was set with the turkey and all the trimmings, and a few friends were over. It was Thanksgiving! Yay!

Life is what you make it, and adaptation is the key.

My own life has been adapting all over the place lately, with a ton of travel, a lot on my to-do list, and a bunch of stuff swirling in my head. I like to slow down in November and take the time to be thankful, but it’s mostly been on the fly. First there was the family reunion in North Carolina. Then I traveled to Tallahassee to do a music gig with my brother (Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours album, start to finish, plus a few extras). Last week I went to Atlanta for the next-to-last residency in my spiritual direction training program. Gratitude swirls around both those opportunities, and it’s filling my brain and my soul these days.

But there’s just so much going on…I find it hard to take the time to focus. It’s possible, but it’s work.

But it’s worth it.

I had some Big Things to think about today, and so I made time to seek wisdom and discernment. I sat with some powerful words and a sense of openness, just curled up with a candle and a quiet house. This is necessary work, the kind that I am drawn to more and more – not because of a changing job, but because I continually need to  surrender – to my ego, to my need for busyness and action, to my desire to Get Things Done, to the realization that there’s a richer life underneath all my activity.

And now, at the end of the day, when the current residents of the house (it’s still a revolving door, it seems…) are sleeping, I am thankful. I am noticing and taking time to be aware, to remember.

  • I changed the screen saver on my laptop to rotate through the 10,000 photos I have – and each one brings back a memory, a smile, a laugh. My kids…my friends…beautiful things I’ve seen and places I’ve been. This is my history, and tonight I am thankful for it – and so much more.
  • The kids and I are using Marco Polo to communicate with each other – group video chats – and daily, they’re leaving quick, silly messages. I see those faces, and every single time, a surge of wonder and gratitude blooms in my heart. I’m loving my more-independent life in this season of They’re All Grown Up – but I treasure their existence and the way they literally light up my life.
  • There’s a pile of sweet potatoes on the counter, and recipes planned for the next few days that will likely result in culinary adventures and gastronomical delights. I can’t wait.
  • My husband, my sweet, patient, immensely talented and always-busy husband, shifted his priorities to put my top priority first on his list. He finished a project for me and I am overwhelmed with his goodness and this small gift of his time.

I’m always dissatisfied with my house, it seems; even now, I sense that there is some better way for our house to be. The flooring, or a wall that needs to move; small repairs to baseboards and a backsplash that has yet to be finished. These and other things keep me in a constant state of disrepair, like the house itself. It’s a heaviness that pushes me towards denial and escape. But even so, I am warm and I am in a comfortable chair; the heated mattress pad is doing its work and I’ll soon be under a pile of blankets in my bed. For this, and other measures of grace I take for granted each day, I am grateful.


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