Thanksgiving is an American tradition, not a religious holiday. And yet I find myself looking to God, and to my Church and its traditions this year. Maybe it's because I miss my own family's traditions... the ones we shared for years in Jackson, Mississippi, at my Aunt Barbara Jo and Uncle Dan's house. There would always be a house full of cousins, aunts, uncles, parents, grandparents, and sometimes friends. The food was amazing (the BEST dressing ever. This is not up for discussion) but the family time is what I miss. You see, my family (maybe like yours?) was pretty dysfunctional in many ways, but somehow on Thanksgiving we managed to be, well, thankful.
So this Thanksgiving I have much to be thankful for, but I've been battling this funk (see previous posts about acedia, etc.) and also kinda wishing I had all "my people" here with me in Memphis. Where are they?
My mother, who has Alzheimer's and won't remember what day it is, is in a nursing home in Mississippi. Our oldest son, Jonathan, is in Jalalabad, Afghanastan, flying helicopters for the Army. He just sent me an instant message a few minutes ago and hopes to be able to call us tomorrow. This is his first time in Afghanastan (he's only been there a couple of weeks) but he's done two tours in Iraq.
My younger son, Jason, and his wife, See and their daughter, Grace, are in Denver, but "Pops" and I are flying out to see them first thing in the morning, and for that I'm very thankful!
And, our daughter, Beth, is already there... she flew out tonight and will be there when we arrive tomorrow. So, there will be 6 of us at Jason and See's apartment for Thanksgiving, and for that I'm also thankful.(Just for fun, here's a picture of Beth in kindgergarten, being an Indian at Thanksgiving. That's Granny Effie and me with her.... you can tell it's the 80s by the hair:-)
And yet, each time I've sat down to write a blog post about Thanksgiving, I haven't come up with anything very creative, or insightful. So, I've decided to share a link to a blog that I follow regularly. It's called "Glory to God for All Things." The author is Father Stephen Freeman, an Orthodox priest in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Father Stephen was guest speaker at our annual women's retreat at St John Orthodox Church here in Memphis recently, and I'm still "processing" the talks that he gave.
So, if you're looking for something spiritual, uplifting, or thought provocative this Thanksgiving, read his post, "Thanksgiving," and also this one, "The Good Confession."
I'm getting up at 5 a.m. for an early flight to Denver, so I'll close by saying Happy Thanksgiving to all, and to all a good night!