The days leading up to Thanksgiving were hectic and I was fighting a cold (which, no doubt, everyone in my life is tired of hearing about). So the warm feelings that usually rise up as my favorite holiday approaches were squeezed out by deadlines, proofreading, exhaustion and that ever-loving cough.
By Wednesday evening, I had finally come to a good stopping point with all the work stuff and it was time to begin preparing to host the Thanksgiving meal. After we finished up our own last minute grocery shopping, my husband and I met my sister at Super Target and helped her round up a load of groceries, too. She has been on bed rest most of this pregnancy and she will be flat on her back at least another month. She is only allowed to shower and go to the doctor. But in the midst of the Wednesday-before-Thanksgiving bedlam, we got her loaded onto a motorized cart and followed her with two push carts (one carrying her two children and one for groceries). We caravanned around Target in a rolling island of chaos, attempting to move in and around the mobs of people and holiday displays while keeping her two children entertained, answering cell phone calls and finding the items she needed. People tried not to stare, bless their hearts. We must’ve been quite a sight. We didn’t even care. It was about sticking together.
That shopping trip gently woke the grateful spirit that had been camouflaged by busyness. I began thanking God that we live near family, that I have a sister who would do the exact same thing for me if the tables were turned, and that her baby is still okay.
As I rolled out pie crusts later in the evening, I was overcome with gratitude that my husband’s grandmother lived long enough to endow me with her pie-baking skills (among all the other good things I Iearned from her). Everytime I roll out a pie crust, I remember how her hands looked doing that very motion. That’s an experience I wouldn’t trade for anything.
Thursday morning, while watching the Macy’s parade all snuggled up with my family, two commercials played that made me cry… one for St. Jude’s Hospital and one for Riley Children’s Hospital. These commercials called to mind two young friends – one who received his cancer treatments at St. Jude’s just a few years ago and another friend’s daughter who received her cancer regimen at Riley this fall. Both kids are now cancer free, but what they went through to fight for their lives… I wouldn’t wish on anyone. That reminder – that health is a blessing not to be taken lightly – literally took my breath away.
As Thanksgiving Day unfolded, I was thankful for rest and family time. But then I began feeling a surprising sense of gratitude for the busyness that had led up to the day. During a time when so many people can’t find work or perhaps don’t have the option to work for health reasons, I have more than I can handle. How ungrateful I have been. To be overwhelmed with work during this time in our nation’s economy is a good thing… so I thanked God for everyone who ever believed in me and gave me opportunities.
I guess in all my rambling-but-grateful thoughts, this Thanksgiving just brought to the surface dozens of reminders that abundance has surprisingly little to do with finances and everything to do with people. Dollars and investment portfolios can never replace the miracle of lives intersecting. I continue to be changed and moved by people… not stuff.