i got hit by a wave of sadness yesterday, out of nowhere, alone at the park with the toddler.
and i realized: this is the first thanksgiving i have ever been away from my family.
for some reason, in all my travels, i always made it back for this holiday (but i did miss a christmas or two). and my family has always done thanksgiving up big, my childhood filled with memories at my grandparents house in the woods, so many cousins to play with. in recent years the hub has been portland, any and all travelers, wanderers, or the family-less welcome to a seat at my parent’s table. my sister, the famous food blogger, has in recent years upped the ante of our meals, and they are now culinary masterpieces. we play games, watch tv, lounge and laugh at the babies. and we talk, all day long, about what we are thankful for; but the strangest part is that we don’t even have to use words. the day after thanksgiving i always did a second meal for all my refugee neighbors (sometimes it was disastrous, sometimes it was peaceful–but it was always fun).
so this year is the first time i ever went to a store and bought all the fixin’s for a meal, myself.
this is the first year i am not rushing around trying to plan anything. this is the first year of cooking food by faith, of not-knowing who will come and eat.
this is the first year with a mobile child (my blue velvet cake has prodigious finger poke holes in it, there are chocolate fingerprints on the couch).
this is the first year of feeling, deep down in our bones, that our choices will not always be easy. and this makes us grateful for the grace to obey.
in the midst of the tears (yes, there will be tears), i am very thankful. to even be in a position like this is crazy-cakes. i feel as confused and expectant as a pre-pentecost disciple, wondering what in the blazes is going on, just along for this crazy ride. with jesus, you never know what is going to happen. and, of course, there is a solidarity in lonely meals, in being far from loved ones, of having to forge your own customs in a strange place. i am grateful for the privilege of experiencing life here, of getting a small glimpse into the other side of holidays, the dark and lonely places.
so for us, like many, today is full of both sadness and thanksgiving. maybe it is for you too.
may you be present in all of it, wherever christ may send you.