I was thinking, while I was sipping my steaming cinnamon tea and enjoying a piece of pumpkin pie for breakfast this morning (doesn’t everyone have leftover pie for breakfast the Friday after Thanksgiving?) about the discontents of my life, contrary to the spirit of the holiday.
You see, yesterday was a wonderful day. We spent it at my sister’s, she who is blessed with two ovens and plenty of counter space, and a dining room which seats eight comfortably, ten if necessary, and a kitchen table for six more, and a big screen TV for watching football afterwards. When we get together to celebrate October’s family birthdays, no one says, “Who wants to have Thanksgiving this year?” My sister cannot escape it (not that she wants to. She is naturally hospitable and giving, and they have the generous kitchen and dining they do because it matches their generous nature).
My dh roasted the turkey. He makes a lovely, moist turkey, and wonderful stuffing. The very first year we were married, he roasted the Thanksgiving turkey: wouldn’t let me near the thing, novice that I was. Abundant gravy cannot make up for dried out and tasteless turkey. That is the price he has since paid for perfection: I have only roasted turkey a few times since. And never on Thanksgiving.
I make gravy, and pies, and potato rolls, and various other sides depending on the year. Yesterday’s gravy was a little thin; it was my first year thickening with cornstarch instead of flour, and I have to get the hang of it. Where was I?
Oh, so my husband and I packed up our turkeys and stuffing and pies and things and headed to my sister’s
early, so we could get the turkeys in the oven. Over the course of the morning, family kept arriving with their contributions, until by 2:00 pm, everything was done and we were saying grace in a big circle around the kitchen island. Which brings me to my discontents.
Everyone was there but for my youngest daughter. She is out of state right now, and since the Lord has been telling me to let her go for some time now, and I have been diligently trying to obey Him on that since, I thought I would be okay. And I held it together yesterday in front of the family. But this morning I couldn’t stop crying, I am missing her so bad. It was the first Thanksgiving since she was born that we haven’t been together.
It has been hard for me letting my children go, now that they are all grown. This is the day you work for from the time they are born, sacrificing, raising them up right, and providing them a superior education, why? So they can go out on their own, so they can leave you. When my oldest daughter was married, I cried for six months afterward. Not that I wasn’t happy for her, but I missed her so much. When she was still living at home, we used to sit on my bed every day and talk about whatever was going on, and then life changed, and things weren’t the same anymore. I grieved, I have been grieving, for the life I have known since my oldest was born some 23 years ago, but which is no longer.
And then on top of the grief, there has been the trouble. “Many are the afflictions of the righteous,” the psalmist promises, and that has turned out to be true in our case. So I was sipping my tea, and thinking about my discontents: my daughter gone from home, and our troubles of the past few years, many of which are not yet resolved, when the Lord interrupted my pity party.
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy–meditate on these things. Phi 4:8
I could have dwelt on all the family that I was together with yesterday — instead of the one I wasn’t with. I could have dwelt on the Lord’s many blessings over the past few years, including Zane, instead of the world’s many afflictions. Perspective. No matter how bad things get, there is always something for which to give thanks. And even if, in the midst of affliction, we cannot think of a blessing for which to give thanks, there is the rest of that verse I quoted above:
Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. Psa 34:19
Future deliverance! One day I will no longer dwell in this world or be subject to its afflictions, and my daughter, who I am missing today, will be with me forever, never to be separated again. Never to be separated again! And then the sorrows of this world will seem so insignificant, so fleeting, and so distant. For this I give You deep and sincere thanks, O Lord.