Sunday, November 25, 2012

Tanished silverware and restored trains

"Let's go around the table and say what we are thankful for," he implored as we gathered.  I suspected he had already been thinking about his response; yet no one protested a public display of thanks.  I wondered silently, "How do you put in a few words so many things?"

We verbalized sincere but predictable thanks for our families and for acts of kindness.  We articulated thanks based on the storm including trees not falling on the house and trains finally being restored.   We acknowledged the paths we had traveled such as having food on the table and freedom from Black Friday stress.  I silently reflected as they laughed at the witty thanks and chided those who got mushy.

I was grateful that Aunt Lu's tarnished silverware and Grandma's threadbare napkins provided us with reminders of those who can no longer gather with us.  I thought about the fights to live longer and how those battles can change families.  I quietly gave thanks that my mom was strong enough to come for dinner.  I smiled as I wondered how long it would take before I took "heat" for skipping the mashed potatoes Uncle Jer would have expected.  I was grateful that the storms of life had left us battered and bruised but not broken.  I was filled with hope for the future as I gave thanks for the faces on the other side of the table.  I remembered God's promise of opening doors after closing windows. 

As they finished up their public displays of thanks, I suspect each person had their own prayers of thanks and hopes for the future swirling in their mind.  New faces, old smiles, laughs, tears, and quiet gratitude surrounded that old table; it was just the way it was supposed to be. 


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