Rising early, I met the coming day with a sense of anticipation, a modicum of dread, and just a bit of awww, as in, “Awwww, we’re having our first major holiday together in our home”. I stepped outside to gather my thoughts in the soft morning glow and was greeted by the calls of roosters on the farms nearby. Somewhere else a dog howled mournfully, probably due to it being rather chilly at this point in the day. The best part though, were the calls of the turkeys. It was difficult to tell whether they were excited to know they had been spared this year or if what I heard were lamentations for their fallen brethren. Either way, it made an interesting start to the day.
The Girl and I had talked about this day weeks ago. What began with just a quick thought passing between us, evolved into a day filled with laughter and joy. The Boy and his Cousin played throughout the day, wrestling, running around, screaming, yelling and pretty much being constantly underfoot while Mr. Cat tried desperately to find a place where they weren’t. Personally, I wouldn’t want it any other way. I come from a large family – 6 of us kids split evenly along party lines, but separated quite oddly by our ages. The three older ones being a year apart, a 4 year break and then myself (my parents probably needed it), another break (I KNOW they needed it) and then my two younger sisters, also separated by 3 or 4 years. I try not to think of my parents consciously ‘planning’ because that brings too many other thoughts to the table. I choose to think that their plan was as simple as they go through each day – live life as it comes with the faith that the answers needed to surmount any obstacles will come, while also remembering that they must play an active role to achieve success. My parents’ faith is strong, but it’s also interlaced with realism.
They taught all of us to enjoy life and to remember to be thankful for all we receive, both the good and the not so good. As we children have grown into adulthood, we may have taken different paths when it comes to how we believe and incorporate their teachings, but the base is the same and it’s very strong. While I may have chosen not to practice as they do, it doesn’t mean that I have walked away from that base. I have a simpler way of looking at things and He and I have an understanding – I don’t ask for things I don’t need and He doesn’t give me things I don’t want or things I can’t get through. When I do need a bit of help, I usually call on my namesake, simply because I figure He has enough on his hands currently. As the patron Saint of “hopeless cases and lost causes”, St Jude has always been by my side. Not too shabby to have a personal guardian of such stature.
And now, at the end of the day after a wonderful meal with all the trimmings, I find it a bit difficult to grab all the esoteric things to be thankful for and reshape them into tangible assets. There are, of course, the obvious things: my parents, brothers, sisters and their progeny. They are in my thoughts each day as I’m sure I am in theirs. There are other things that are new to me and so I suppose today it’s important to recognize their significance. I’m thankful not only for the roof over my head and because it’s not just a house, but a home and that I have a wonderful person by my side who helps to make it that way. I’m thankful to be in the presence of a child that helps me to be a better person and who also allows me to teach him what I have learned. I have a second family that has welcomed me into their hearts as well as their homes and friends that accept me as I am while also helping me to grow within myself. I’m thankful for my abilities as well as for the faith and confidence that things will change and my talents will be recognized and appreciated once again. I’m thankful that during this time I’m on a ‘forced vacation’, I can be of service to others. I’m even thankful for the trials and tribulations of life because they strengthen me while teaching me new things about the world around me. I am thankful today and every day for these things and all the other unnamed ones.
I hope that all of you can find something to be thankful for and, maybe more importantly, be someone that others can give thanks for as well.