Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Putting the "thanks" back in Thanksgiving

Twice I've started a Thanksgiving post this week. The first one was a list of Stuff I'm Thankful For--not big things but the thousand little things that we sometimes forget to appreciate properly, like indoor plumbing. The second one, begun with pen and paper while I was curled up in front of a window on a rainy afternoon, was a cozy little piece about how much I love Thanksgiving, how it's beginning to overtake Christmas as my favorite holiday. I was feeling very warm and fuzzy earlier this week, savoring the thought of four days off, cocooning with family, friends, and food. Ahhhh...

Then yesterday afternoon, some very bad news arrived. I don't want to post details for the world to see, but it created a very difficult, painful situation for my family. Since then I've been by turns numb, angry, worried, and scared. I'm not a Pollyanna, so I don't try to find a bright side in everything (some situations simply don't have a bright side, no matter what all those positive thinking gurus say). But the few times in my life I've experienced real pain and tragedy, I've also been reminded of how very blessed I am. This time has been no different. So, while I'm still grateful for indoor plumbing, I'm going to share with you my new, more serious, list of the things I'm especially thankful for on this Thanksgiving Eve:

Family -- No matter what happens, I know I'll always have love and support from my husband, my son, and my mother.

Friends -- "Is there anything I can do?" "No, really, I mean it, please tell me if I can help." "I'll be thinking of you." "Call me if you need anything." "We love you." We've heard these words from everyone with whom we've shared our pain, usually accompanied by big hugs. I can't begin to describe how much it means to know we aren't alone, that some amazing people stand with us. If there's a bright spot to any tragedy, it's that we find out how much our friends really care. I'm both humbled and sustained by their love and support.

Faith -- I don't often write about my faith, because it's deeply personal. But God is with me, through good times and bad, and I can lean on His strength when mine fails. And with my faith comes another family--my church family. Our pastor who prayed with us, counseled us, reassured us, and even made us laugh. Our youth pastor, who hugged us, offered her help, asked us how we were holding up. My husband's boss, who was completely understanding and supportive.

My co-workers -- many of whom are also friends. "Are you OK?" "Can we help?" My boss, who has been incredibly understanding and supportive, even though I had to leave work with little warning and miss a couple important meetings.

Sometimes people hurt us. Sometimes bad things happen. But I know that, no matter what life hits me with, I don't have to face it alone. Some of the most amazing people in the world have my back. And for that I'm deeply thankful.

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