To Be Truly Thankful

November 25, 2014 lisa63 Uncategorized

Living such a busy and hectic life, we sometimes forget to see the small pleasures in life. I know I can get bogged down with my job, my school work, bills, Cub Scout meetings, and most recently car repairs. Sometimes when it rains, it pours. In the midst of all this chaos, it’s hard to see the forest for the trees. But not this week. This week I am truly seeing the trees!

I am enjoying the gift my parents gave us 45 years ago, and I am spending time with my entire family. I have 7 brothers and sisters with spouses and there are 22 nieces and nephews. We spend every Thanksgiving together….all of us (except for one family who lives out of state). We will serve Thanksgiving dinner this year for 31 people.

As we sit at tables in our cabin, the turkey is presented. It is the star of the show. It weighs 42 pounds this year. My brother and sister-in-law raise the turkeys on their little farm and generously bring one each year for Thanksgiving dinner. So we watch and take pictures as this mammoth bird threatens to break the platter while it is carried in to be viewed. It is beautiful.

Our dinner is served family style (of course), and every table is filled with mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, cranberries, warm bread, corn, green beans, and even ham for those who don’t like turkey.  The many pies are waiting patiently in the wings. We are surrounded by earth’s bounty.

Now for the gift. We were all given the gift of music. Everyone plays at least one instrument. Everyone can sing. The guitars are ready (usually 3 of them) and everyone has a little piece of paper with the words to a song. We don’t need the little paper anymore, but it’s part of the tradition. Our Thanksgiving dinner begins by singing these words:

Love that’s freely given, wants to freely be received.
All the love You’ve poured on us can hardly be believed.
And all that we can offer You is thanks.
All that we can offer You is thanks.

Creation tells a story that began so long ago.
Of love that longed to share its life, in hopes that love would grow.
The song repeats each morning, the story is retold.
And just in love’s retelling, new chapters yet unfold.

Love that’s freely given, wants to freely be received.
All the love You’ve poured on us can hardly be believed
And all that we can offer You is thanks.
All that we can offer You is thanks.

My dad would then say the prayer before the meal. After thankful prayer, we spend the next several hours enjoying marvelous food, conversation, and home-made pies and a late evening hike up a mountain fire line.  I have done this every Thanksgiving since I was 6 years old, except for 2.

My parents gave us this gift in 1969 out of tragedy and pain. It grew into a tradition that none of us could imagine ever changing. I sometimes wonder if my parents knew what they truly gave to their children and their grand-children.

My mom passed away on Palm Sunday eight years ago. My dad passed away the week before Thanksgiving four years ago. We weren’t prepared for either. So now it’s just us. We have been handed the torch to keep the tradition alive for our children and our children’s children.

Thanksgiving Day is not as carefree and easy as it used to be. There are many tears shed before the Thanksgiving meal. You see, we are a very close knit family. Our parents created that. We owe them a great deal. We miss them a great deal.

But I have to keep the gift they gave me in the front of my mind. I have to see the brightness of the gift alongside the sadness for the loss of the givers; they go hand in hand. I think about them every day, and I thank them for the gift of family, of faith, of hope, and of love. And the greatest of these is love.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone,


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