Often at Thanksgiving, I write about the obvious. The obvious is happy and sometimes sad, depending on what has happened in the past year, who is no longer at your table, and any new additions to the family.
This year, a friend from church won’t have her sister at the table, a sister who became a mom for the first time just days before she died this week.
This year, a work friend has a beautiful 2 month old new baby girl to grace their Thanksgiving.
This year, a high school friend will unexpectedly be without his wife after a tragic medical event just a week before Thanksgiving.
This year, some of us have friends who are celebratory and some of us have friends who are scared and sad.
It’s been a year, folks. It’s been quite the year for me, both amazing highs and some pretty hefty lows.
Wish you had more family around you these days? Well, I have seven new siblings. What a beautiful thing. I’ve been able to get to know some of them really well, which is a cause for great joy, and others not at all, which is simply a future wish at this point.
Wish you had a better relationship with a parent? Me too. I feel sad for my mom and stepfather carrying around a secret about my parentage that they didn’t need to and now can’t address with me. I feel grateful for a dad here on earth still with me who loves me and whom I love. I feel grief over a father I never knew and who may or may not have known much about me, or even cared; there is no way to know.
Wish you had a job you love? I do have a job I love, and I’m so thankful. Wish your job was easier? Girl, me too. It’s been quite a time for non-profits serving diverse populations.
Wish you were not vilified for your politics? I haven’t been vilified (that I know of), but I feel forever misunderstood. Ask some, and I’m a flaming liberal (to which I chuckle heartily). Ask others, and I’m a big conservative (to which I chuckle heartily).
Wish you were more connected to God? I always wish that.
Wish you understood when you were supposed to oppose leadership and when you should submit? My biggest struggle right now.
Wish you knew what was coming? Yeah. We all do. Those who voted red, those who voted blue, and those who third-partied the whole thing. We all do.
Tomorrow, I get to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family–my brothers Michael and Jeff, my nieces and nephews, my great-niece and great-nephew, and extended family by marriage.
As we all prepare for our own Thanksgivings, I imagine some are excited, but my guess is many are probably just hoping to fake their way through the holiday.
But if life has taught me anything, it is that faking it is a band-aid. It works temporarily, but not in the long-term. And, folks, it’s late November of 2016. And it’s been a year.
So be real. That doesn’t mean you have to take down Aunt Jean for her blue button or Uncle Joe for his red hat. But it means being real, looking in people’s eyes, and understanding that they don’t feel any more certain about what happens tomorrow than you do. It means letting your guard down and being who you are. If you are grieving the loss of family member, grieve and let others comfort. If you are happy about life events, be happy and spread that around. If you are scared, let that show through some.
Tomorrow, thank God for that tomorrow. Because nothing is promised about how long you’ll have your annoying Aunt Jean or your bombastic Uncle Joe. See in their eyes what everyone is desiring right now–love, acceptance and a few chuckles in the warm embrace of that crazy, dysfunctional but lovable thing we call family.