If I just had a day between work and break to get it together.
The work week before a holiday is just busier and harder and extra and double-time to get it all done in preparation.
I just need a day between the end of work and the start of a festive holiday with family to - oh, I dunno - sweep my house, wash my jeans and run to Kroger. Forget decorating for fall. Who has time for all that?!
And I probably won't get it all done and I'll have to enter family time with half a list on my desk and have my mind somewhere else.
But this year I want Thanksgiving to change me.
There's no other holiday that's more about the inside of our truest selves.
Nothing more about inside work.
Maybe I don't want a second to sweep my house as much as I'm desperate for a minute to turn on a lamp in my soul and sweep the dust off the piles of unprocessed ache and joy and find in the process some gratitude to bring to the table this year.
Frustrated and unsure where to get a good heart for the events of this week, I check a few more things off my to-do list.
And then I power walk to the mailbox to pickup my order of cleaning supplies and hear leaves crunching under my feet.
A wise friend told me: fall is the season of things dying to make room for new life. And then I think about the seasons.
How odd for this sweet holiday to coincide with a season of things starting to die all around. No one wants to talk about death. No one feels warm and thankful about death.
Then, sweetly, gently I hear that small voice that is always quieter than the rest. Hearing that voice feels like scattered laundry suddenly clean and sorted inside my mind, like being mentally sorted and gathered.
Thanksgiving isn't about arriving at a good spot and praising for the calm of the harbor.
Thanksgiving is about standing in the swirl of things falling to the ground. Falling apart. Half-processed, half-finished, maybe only half-alive. Thanksgiving is a spot on the calendar, like an invitation to a place that stays closed inside your own soul, to accept the dying of old things, to welcome the process of putting to death our own fears. Thanksgiving is an invitation to sit so still and watch with gratitude as things fall off of us.
So maybe this week you'll look around and all you can see is yourself standing in pile of things that are being taken away, a crunchy pile of dull aches.
I want to strike a match in the coldest corner of your heart because something is coming.
Lift up your chin.
There will be new life.
Kneel down in your pile of dried and un-met expectations. There's something underneath the leaves. Underneath the soil. It may get a little colder out here before we see it, but that doesn't mean it isn't there. Underneath your shoes, the dead leaves, the cold ground, something is getting ready to grow. And God has already started to water it, to make room for it in the world by clearing out all these old leaves.
Stay right here with me, in your pile of unfinished, and rejoice because we have this hope.
Thanksgiving week finds me in a place I didn't expect to stand: instead of choosing to rise above areas of frustration in order to celebrate, I'm celebrating in the middle of them.
I'm giving my achy parts a moment to speak to my soul about what might be ahead & I'm choosing to hold onto gratitude for that. I'm giving those un-sewn-up parts a voice so I can listen and rejoice for how they are still shaping me.
And now I don't even want to go back inside the house. My cleaning supplies haven't been delivered yet, but I might check the box a few more times for the sake of crunchy leaves.
Now I understand.
Thanksgiving is an opportunity to give thanks right in the middle of everything falling. Falling apart, falling into place.
It's a chance to see further than our own feet and turn our attention fully towards thankfulness with recognition of the heavy things. Thanksgiving takes the power out of the hands of our circumstances and says: I will rejoice here.
Our Christ used death, the most final thing we know about life, to show us that death is never the end. Death is part of the process of resurrection.
His death is where we find our deepest Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving celebration is most complete when we decide that even just for one day this year, we'll look at every part of our souls and ourselves with a grateful heart.
God doesn't wait till we have it together to bring new growth.
Maybe we shouldn't wait for the completion of that new growth to get really, really thankful.
Photo Credits: Joel Henson // Seen In Stereo Photography
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I believe in the person that you are, deepest down.