It’s a quiet little milestone in my life today: I survived my first holiday away from home and family.
I’ve been thinking about family and our Thanksgiving traditions for a couple of weeks now, warming myself in front of memories and familiarities as if before a crackling hearth.
How my Grandad would always fall asleep in his recliner with the football game on, no matter how loud us kids were being.
My cousin Marla’s sweet potato casserole with loads of sugar and chopped pecans instead of marshmallows.
The mysterious “pink stuff” that’s always called a salad but tastes more like dessert.
Uncle Gary’s laugh.
Too many helpers in the kitchen, and a few sneaky fingers.
I could hear all their voices in my heart, and their laughter. This is what I remember of my family, forcibly. And let me tell you that I missed them this week. But I couldn’t really feel sad because these memories, these images are so warm and so joyful. And I just keep thinking of how blessed I am. I had my fill of good food and wonderful fellowship today, but my heart has feasted on memories all week long.
Something I’ve noticed about being far from home this Thanksgiving is that I’m more acutely aware of how much I have to be thankful for than I remember being in the past. I could make a list, but I’d be up all night so instead I’ll just give a couple.
I’m thankful today for the Body of Christ. I loved spending my Thanksgiving with my church family here. It was loud and rowdy and utterly delicious. I’ve said it before, but I just don’t know how people get through life without a church family. I’m fairly certain that I couldn’t.
I’m thankful for Spur. My sweet little dog has been more than a pet, more than a companion, since I’ve been here. Taking care of her helps to anchor my life here. She helps me to make sense of my life, to create small pockets of order within the larger chaos that is a big move. She reminds me (insistently, sometimes) to make time for play. And, she makes coming home a treat everyday. The truth is, I would have fallen to pieces at least a few times without her here.
So there’s my couple. I hope you’ve had a lovely holiday. I hope that your cup runneth over this year, as mine does.