Sunday, November 24, 2013

Giving Thanks

This is the Sunday before Thanksgiving. Throughout my life, I have attended Thanksgiving  church services where people get to voice their thanks. When I was a child, we had services on Thanksgiving day and the whole service was centered around people having an opportunity to share what they were thankful for.  No one in my family ever did it. Not because we weren't thankful. We just didn't want to share in front of the whole congregation. There were families who shared EVERY year. I think it made us uncomfortable that they shared their feelings in such a public way. We didn't think it was wrong, but we squirmed a bit when they shared so openly. And, we held our thankfulnesses tightly.

Today, in the church bulletin, I noticed that there would be an opportunity to share thankfulnesses today. I rolled my eyes in discomfort and dug my heels in, prepared to hold onto mine. But people got up and shared beautiful meditations of why they were thankful and how they practice thankfulness -- even in times of difficulty or times when they don't really FEEL thankful.

And, as I sat there, I felt a nudge to get up and share. I tried to map out my little bit of sharing -- how it would sound, what to include, what to leave out, how do I include everything I want to say in just a minute or two at most?

That part of the service was eliminated at the last minute -- probably we ran out of time -- so my little talk that I had planned "on the fly" would not be said.

Until now.

The very first thing that comes to mind when I think of thankfulness (though it is not, by any means, the only thing I'm thankful for) is that Harvey is still alive. Two years ago today, we didn't know how sick he was. December 20, 2011 we found out. It was scary. We had to talk about things with our girls that we didn't want to talk about.  We had to talk to an attorney so we would be prepared for what seemed to be inevitable. We faced (and tried not face) what seemed really ugly news. His diagnosis was stage 4 colon cancer metastatic to the liver. And, the first couple of doctors we saw did not have much hope in their eyes.

Enter the second thing that I'm thankful for: Dr. Lin and research and progress and HOPE. I remember leaving his office feeling hopeful. Hope is something that cancer patients and their families need.  And, he has given us hope throughout the past two years.... And, Harvey is doing pretty well for someone who thought his death was eminent. Hope continues two years later.  

Sometimes, though, I'm so thankful for so much that I don't want to say it out loud. Sometimes it's too sacred. The thankfulness I feel is very deep. It's not something I can describe. It's too big...too special...too important. You know what I mean? It's as if saying it out loud kinda takes away the specialness of it. 

But understand this: I have been and continue to be blessed beyond measure in ways beyond measure throughout my life... I grew up in a family that I treasure. I married into a family that I treasure. I gained a daughter through marriage that I treasure...and God gave me two little girls that I treasure -- all of those people --- more than I will ever be able to let them know.

Thankful. Deeply thankful.

For much.

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