We had the pleasure of hosting Mike’s parents for the past couple of weeks. I am grateful they were able to come and spend time with us. I am glad the boys got some quality time with their loving grandparents. They flew back to Michigan today, and the house definitely feels emptier. I’ll miss hearing Dad Beckett randomly call out, “Tucker! Tucker Beckett!” (Tucker is their dog who stayed home.) I’ll miss Mom Beckett’s cheerful company.
Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. I love that we make efforts to be with loved ones when we can. I love the feasting and every item that takes part in the menu. Ethan also was excited about dinner. “I can’t wait to eat the feast!” His brother was less expressive but very insistent that he get the entire turkey leg.
I love the traditions. Keeping them is comforting. I have to make the rice stuffing that my mom made every year growing up. I love that we put up the tree and decorate for Christmas the day after Thanksgiving. At the same time, change is also fun. We had a kosher turkey this year which enabled our guest to participant fully. We also added what will hopefully be an annual occurrence: taking a hike in the foothills after dinner and before pie. Pie must have been a great motivator because I have never seen Ethan and Connor take off on foot so fast and far. At least we didn’t have to worry about them being mugged. Eaten by wildlife, yes, but not mugged.
And of course, I love the focus on gratitude. It helps to shape our perspective in a positive way. Without it, we are left missing the fullness of blessing. Being truly thankful does not mean we discount the negatives that are inevitable in life. To do so would be inauthentic, not to mention annoying.
Knowing age and arthritis are preventing previous mobility and fishing pleasures brings aching sadness. Hearing a high school classmate died from cancer before reaching the age of 40 breaks the heart. Reviewing applications of women who have suffered abuse, addiction, violence and homelessness depresses the mind. I cannot ignore these feelings. They have to be acknowledged.
However, they do not reign. Gratitude points me to the sense of humor, dedication of a caring spouse, and determination to remain as independent as possible that eases the ache. Thanksgiving has me moved by the small town community that remembers together and supports one another and heals the heart. Positive perspective shows me how people are receiving life-changing help and overcoming the demons of the past successfully and elevates the mood.
Perspective definitely matters. For the past month or more, I have been volunteering at the congregate living site for Crossroads for Women. When I go, I usually am doing somewhat mindless work. I file. I enter information in a database. I fold programs. Doing this for a couple hours once or twice a week is not very exciting and in fact can sometimes seem quite menial. If I were to focus only on the tasks, I don’t know how long I would last. But I know meaningful work is being done by those I am assisting. And this work is benefiting real women who are beating down massive obstacles and forging new paths. Somehow it transforms the menial to a significance that has me wanting to commit for as long as I can. For this, I am grateful.
And for these wonderful in-law’s (and every family member all around the globe), I am so very thankful. And as redundant as it may sound, I am truly thankful to be thankful. 🙂