May I share with you an archived blog from last Thanksgiving . . . giving thanks for loved ones here, loved ones missed . . .
Thanksgiving is a time we take mental inventory of our blessings. A family tradition of ours has been to write on a slip of paper what we’re thankful for and guess which family member wrote the gratitude piece.
Reviewing my old journals, I realized how many holidays have been spent in a hospital with a loved one. Many times our Thanksgiving table was a metal tray. The centerpiece was the afflicted one in a sickbed.
I bowed my head low as I read the November entries. The baby son who nearly died from a rare illness and as a young adult, this same son lay still in a trauma unit from late October until January, the result of a near fatal car accident. A younger son who received a kidney transplant, and a husband who suffered multiple strokes, ultimately pronounced brain dead.
Remembrances of gatherings around the bounty of family and food seemed distant while keeping bedside vigils, partaking of a sterile feast in a hospital room. Despite the narrow vision of our personal circumstances, it was clear to see we were not unique. Surrounding rooms and cubicles were crowded with patients and their loved ones. We were not alone.
First, I’m thankful that I’m thankful.
At one time our table was swollen with children and grandchildren. I’m reminded we must seize the moment. Too soon our table can be altered by loss or separation in some form.
I give thanks for occupied chairs. The unexpected miracles seated at our table. I give thanks for empty chairs. Keepsakes holding memories of where my mother and aunt were once seated. Although they are at a greater banquet, their presence remains at our table.
Voices silenced, still heard.
I speak with many who find this special day just another added stress. Fussing and preparing, dealing with family drama of relatives they’d rather not see. I’ve been there. . .
Until . . . I had to be somewhere else that helped me see the radical blessing of everything and everywhere.
Cherish the seat that holds a loved one. The gift of now.
Perhaps it takes a purer faith to praise God for unrealized blessings than for those we once enjoyed or those we enjoy now. AW Tozer