Friday, October 07, 2016
It's always the right time for thanksgiving
As we celebrate Thanksgiving this coming weekend (here in Canada, at least), I thought it would do me good to post a list of things I'm thankful for right now.
I'm very grateful that Jonathan has gotten off to such a wonderful start at high school. He wakes every morning eager to climb on the bus. He has clicked with his new EA, Matt, and talks of him often. He is having new adventures like going to the Food Bank to volunteer once a week, swimming once a week, and taking interesting field trips (yesterday his class rode the Tour Trolley around town to view various Kingston landmarks, ending with lunch from the hot dog vendor in Confederation Park). The whole transition -- new setting, new teacher, new EA, new routine -- has gone more smoothly than we could ever have hoped.
I'm thankful for friends. This past year I've had a chance to make new connections with several women, mostly from church. Regardless of whether they're older or younger than me, or at a totally different stage of life from mine, every time the connection has been encouraging and inspiring. Although our circumstances may differ, we all struggle with the same issues: using our time wisely, coping with changes and challenges, finding our own unique identity and calling in the midst of the day-to-day demands of life ... oh, and deciding what to order when you go to a cafe that specializes in chocolate. That's definitely a trial that's best faced with the support of a friend.
I'm thankful for my neighbourhood. As a family we are truly fortunate to live where we do, with neighbours who look out for one another, who lend a hand, who give generously without hesitation. On the first day of school, our neighbours Kenny and Shelley came out with their coffee cups and sat on their front porch to watch Jonathan get on the bus for the first time. And the bus was a half hour late! They didn't have to do that, but they cared enough to show their support; that's just what it's like here on "the circle."
As I write this post, people in the southern USA are bracing for a massive hurricane. Lives and homes have already been lost in Haiti, an already suffering nation that didn't need more adversity. I sit here and wonder who am I to be grateful for my blessings when others around the world are suffering.
Ann Voskamp, in her bestselling book One Thousand Gifts, helps answer this question for me:
"I know there is poor and hideous suffering, and I've seen the hungry and the guns that go to war. I have lived pain, and my life can tell: I only deepen the wound of the world when I neglect to give thanks for early light dappled through leaves and the heavy perfume of wild roses in early July and the song of crickets on humid nights and the rivers that run and the stars that rise and the rain that falls and all the good things that a good God gives. Why would the world need more anger, more outrage? How does it save the world to reject unabashed joy when it is joy that saves us? ...
The brave who focus on all things good and all things beautiful and all things true, even in the small, who give thanks for it and discover joy even in the here and now, they are the change agents who bring fullest Light to all the world."
When it comes to being grateful for the good things in our lives, there is never a wrong time. Thanksgiving Day is simply a particularly right time.