And then there is the rest of life. More personal and closer to home. Missing my granddaughter, Caroline, and my children, Matthew, Drew and Katie.
Thinking about people in my church. Loss of spouses. Loss of partners. A divorce. Young families doing their best to piece together a life. Moms and dads working hard, exhausted every night, but they do it because they love their kids.
Yet this has been a year of great love too. Each week I serve a church of great love. Great joy. I see genuine friendship. Genuine care. And happiness. I love that Sunday morning is now a time of happiness in my church. And if we are occasionally small in spirit, then a greater heart absorbs our brokenness, and for that I am grateful.
I can say the same about my staff at church. What a joy it is to work with them each and every day. The same could be said about the leadership at my church. They care. They are smart. They feel. They participate. I could not ask for more.
I have many memories on Thanksgiving. My grandmother’s cooking. She was a wonderful cook. Thanksgiving and a birthday celebrations in Cincinnati at my aunt Jane’s house when I was a boy. I received a Glen Campbell record as a gift, as well as an oil painting set replete with canvases. Glen Campbell has Alsheimer’s disease now and I think of painting so often but never get around to it. I tell myself that someday I will be an artist. Someday.
I think of friends on Thanksgiving too. I am so grateful. So grateful for friends, most of whom have no idea what they have done for me or what they mean to me or how often I think of them, because my feelings are like Scandanavian fiords, deep and meaningful but placid on the surface.
It’s Thanksgiving and here is the menu — turkey, sausage/cornbread stuffing, brusell sprouts, collard greens, dilled carrots (recipe courtesy of Leslie Geoghegan), cranberry sauce, mushroom gravy, mashed potatoes, yeast rolls, fudge pie, Derby pie, and on and on it goes with wine and a few friends.
I’m with Marti Sweeney and she is still with me. I am grateful. And two Labrador retrievers — Gracie and Lily. I am grateful.
So, Take a Breath today, whoever you are, wherever you are, whatever you might be facing today, just Take a Breath and be grateful for something, one thing, just be grateful and breathe. Happy Thanksgiving.