Today is Thanksgiving and for me and my family every year is different. We do not have a tradition of going to the same person's home and eating the traditional fare. But it is always memorable.
I am grateful always for my marriage and especially this year as we celebrate 20 years together. There was a moment yesterday when Chuck and I just looked at each other as if to say - how fast it has gone and how good it has been. We are kind of an unlikely couple but truly he has helped me to grow spiritually as I have tried to give him what he has always given me - the freedom to be himself.
And of course, it has been 20 years of a lot of laughs as he never stops surprising me.
We looked at our pictures from our wedding yesterday and I could not help but notice those who are no longer with us on earth - my Mom, my friend Vonnie who married us, and my sister Ellen. Yesterday my niece Sarah, Ellen's daughter, gave birth to her first child and that just gives me so much joy as I cherish the reality that life truly does go on and we get new people and opportunities to love. Grateful.
I will not be with any of my daughters around the table today. Kacey and Marnie and their families are going to Hocking Hills together. They thought that this vacation would not happen this year because Marnie and Erik lost their jobs this summer. But both found new jobs and more challenges and opportunities and they get to go after all! Grateful.
Audrey will be by herself in Tuscon because Miranda flew to be by her grandma, Mama Sallie's side, as she left this earth. And she made it in time and was able to be present at what is always a holy experience. Their family will be together to share stories and tears and laughter and I imagine, turkey. And Audrey - will not be totally alone - as she spends time with new friends and my oldest friend Susan this weekend. Grateful.
And so my gratitude is not just for the goodness of life - the new jobs, the marriage, the baby - but it is for the all the life. The experiences of loss and grieving and loneliness that remind us that we need each other and we need God. And God is always there in all of it. Not just getting us through, but strengthening and growing us in the midst of all of it.
Grateful, Grateful, Grateful.