After several days of storms, looking out my window this morning as the sun streaks through huge clouds and blue sky sneaks out, I can’t help but want to sing! It is a beautiful sight after so much darkness and grey.
Approaching Thanksgiving this year has got me thinking about Thanksgivings of the past. Mulling over all the different memories, places, and circumstances we have been in together as a family through the years. Probably my favorite was celebrating in the Rockies, while traveling with my husband for business. Just our little family hidden away between the white peaks, cozy in the midst of a blizzard, tummies full and feet warmed by a fire with Christmas movies playing, board games going and gingerbread men being decorated. The environment was enchanting, but it was being isolated from the hustle and bustle and pulling of everyday ordinary that was so special.
I think back to last year. Our family had begun a journey of a different kind, though we were hardly starting to perceive it. Our lives are so filled with blessings that they become the common everyday theme. It hasn’t been until we purposed to live more simply, weary from the weight of so much stuff being carted around in all of our traveling and moving, that we began to recognize the treasures we were taking for granted. It never ceases to amaze me how getting rid of material things reveals the value of what is truly valuable.
Throughout the years my husband and I have been married we’ve had our share of ups and downs. Marriage has not been bliss. It has been the tool through which we’ve each been whittled down to bare naked honesty and brokenness – to the raw material that allows transparency, intimacy and unity to fully take root. Along the way we’ve manages to pick things up that, in desperate moments, we’ve hoped would hide the nakedness we felt… things not good.
A year ago, as we unloaded material possessions and started to challenge the ties we had to various memories, places and people, we inadvertently began to face the things we have collected in our marriage. It has been a very challenging year, thinking back over it now. And, in so many ways, it has probably been the most fruitful year we have shared together as a couple and with our children.
A year of digging up the soil of our lives, unearthing weeds and removing hardened clots… and of planting new seeds for the future.
Thanksgiving this year finds us in a place that is very different from where we imagined we’d be by now. In a place of much less and of fewer. Looking at our life on the surface is probably something like looking at a field of churned up dirt. Pretty bare. Pretty storm weathered. But if you could see it through lenses of all that can’t be seen in the physical, you’d see life taking root at depths it hasn’t dared to go before, and you’d see promises of a future so incredibly awe-inspiring it might make you laugh.
Thanksgiving this year comes at a time in my life when I feel truly alive for the first time. When what I am thankful for is so much more than I can possibly list. When I am truly, deep down, grateful for the life and marriage I have been allowed to live out.
This year, I am grateful for the storms. They’ve uncovered so many bindings and heartaches that we wouldn’t have challenged or removed otherwise.
I am thankful for the things we no longer have, the lightness and freedom of not caring for material possessions, no longer having them lurk in boxes and piles that waft guilt and sentimentality in a single breath when thought of or passed by.
I am thankful for the healing that comes from breaking away and taking off those things that we tried to cover up with in desperate moments of emotional nakedness over the years.
I am grateful for the relationships that have deepened this year. For the healing that has hemmed in life-giving interactions between hearts and minds, and the laughter that has come back into our eyes and bellies.
I am grateful for the relationships that have sprung up new these past few months and the hope and future they have illuminated. The challenges and inspirations they have ignited within our family has set new framework for how we define health and growth.
Most of all, this year, I am grateful to have the eyes to see the sun-breaks and blue sky that come at surprising times and always leave us excited about what’s ahead.