Monday, October 08, 2007

Thanksgiving

Today is Thanksgiving and this weekend we focus on the things we are grateful for. Many families will or already have had a dinner with turkey and all of the fixings. At a lot of those tables there will be a tradition of going around and asking people what they are thankful for. I always have a struggle with that tradition. I have trouble boiling down what I am grateful to just one or two sentences. Often I have to tell stories to explain why I am thankful. Who really wants to sit and listen to me talk for 5 minutes about why I am thankful when there is turkey on the table?

Yesterday I started out feeling weary and tired. I was blessed by a gathering at church that was fun but also a teaching that met me exactly where I was at. I entered the gathering feeling alone and left feeling abundantly blessed. To say that I am grateful for friends would not begin to express the things in my life that I am grateful for.

Seven years ago I walked through the world feeling disconnected. I wasn’t without friends – I had some very close ones. Yet there is a difference between having friends and feeling connected. When you are connected those around you share your burdens and joy and you share theirs.

At our gathering this year I was reminded that when God speaks of family he is speaking of something much broader. I may not sit around the dining room table with them but there is still a sense of connectedness. There was the woman who put her arm around me as she walked by and embraced me without saying a word. There was another friend who invited me for dinner tonight. Still another friend shared with me a beautiful story about God meeting her in a difficult life transition. There was the pastor who made sure that I and others like me knew that the message was not just for those in traditional family units. There was the friend that phoned to share the news of the birth of their baby. Then there was the family who I shared turkey dinner with last night.

So today I am not just thankful for friends. I am thankful for community. I am thankful for connectedness. I am awestruck by a God who provides all of this and still has the patience to gently remind me what I have when I forget.

1 comment:

James Zink said...

Thank you for the deep and profound rhythms of vulnerability...I sure do appreciate your pictures because in so many ways I am on this steep learning curve of expansion regarding family...I have never known "normal" family (seems like an oxymoron) and so these days have been filled with gatherings that are with what is typically labeled "friends" but I would sooner call family. My wife and children are my first real experience of being known intimately and the words you used to so eloquently describe these kind of vulnerable thoughts brought tears to my eyes as I think of how lost I would be without these "knowers" of my soul, the ones who stop and notice me, in the loneliest part of my being-they want to know-and I'm reminded there is a love that is far higher than I'm living right now...thanks for helping me not feel so sorry for my self and reminding me of what matters...when my mom died, I thought my experience of family did too...the words you so passionately paint are a lift out of despair on a day like today...thanks for expanding my picture...sure did need that...