Thanks. Giving.

The plan had been for me to drive up to my mom’s sometime Thanksgiving week.  My mother had been a little under the weather for a while, so we’d planned a simple Thanksgiving day.  My brothers and I, and the bonus of my nephew, Andrew, were going to have a quiet, feasting day together.  Which happened.  Except I wasn’t there.

Turns out early in the week I came down with a cold.  It’s actually pretty amazing with all of the traveling I’ve done during the Sabbatical that this was the very first time I’d been sick.  However, Thanksgiving Day found me in in bed or on the couch at the Rectory.  Alone.

First time in 61 years that I’d been alone on Thanksgiving.  It was strange to look outside the window and see cars parked in front of neighbors’ houses, people moving in and out with smiles and hugs and arms full of food, and to be inside still in my pajamas.

I’ll be honest.  I had a few minutes of feeling sorry for myself.  I’ll admit it.  But then I got out the basket of cards written to me by members of St. Mary’s and read their kind words and prayers.  I had a grilled cheese sandwich, made the proper way browned in butter on top of the stove.  Less you feel a bit sorry for me–a  grilled cheese sandwich is one of my most favorite foods, especially when made with homemade bread (baked by me from a cookbook given to me by my wonderful daughter, who, by the way, is featured this month in the Ladies Home Journal) and cheese brought back from my trip to Iona.

I had cookies that same daughter had made for my birthday that I’d frozen away for a special occasion.  I had an organic honeycrisp apple–perhaps the best apple God ever created. I had my drink of choice–sparkling water, and it all felt like a feast to me.  I had phone calls from my son, my daughter, cousins in Virginia, a nephew in Brooklyn, and my best friend.  I knitted.  I watched dvds.  It wasn’t the Thanksgiving I’d wanted to have, but it was definitely a day that was easy for me to give thanks.

To top the day off, a friend sent me a Thanksgiving letter written by the Bishop of Atlanta–and his words of wisdom are worth sharing with any of you who have muddled through to this point.
The Right Rev. Rob Wright wrote:

Thanksgiving Day ~ November 22, 2012

“Now thank we all our God, with heart and hands and voices, Who wondrous things has done, in Whom this world rejoices….”
Today many of us will sit down to Thanksgiving dinner with friends and family. Just before we dine, we will bow our heads and voice our gratitude to God for food and family and fellowship. This we ought to do. We have been so blessed!
But, go further this year.
This Thanksgiving, in response to all God has done for you, do that which God asks of us. Tell the children and grandchildren of the wondrous deeds of God. Read Psalm 78:1-7 to them. Tell them why you follow Jesus. Tell them the difference it makes.
Further still.
This Thanksgiving, ask God for the courage and grace to make peace with the family member you struggle to love. Ask God for the grace to forgive a longstanding hurt inflicted by a family member. In thanksgiving to God, let it go.
Yet more.
This Thanksgiving, choose one issue that tugs at your heart: homelessness, domestic violence, child poverty, etc. Serve the people in that circumstance for one year, until next Thanksgiving. Do this in thanksgiving to God.
I commend these to you this Thanksgiving, mindful of the words we pray each morning:
” …We pray give us such an awareness of your mercies, that with truly thankful hearts we may show forth your praise, not only with our lips, but in our lives….” BCP pg.101
I thank God for you,
+Rob
  

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