Happy Thanksgiving to my fellow Canadians! Usually I associate this holiday with a big meal surrounded by my family of origin. It was October 2019 when we last all got together and while I am building new traditions with my husband and daughter and enjoying a quieter less chaotic day, a bit of sadness remains. Forest does not share my passion for holidays but he still gives his best and two years ago he willingly sacrificed our bedroom wall for annual notes of thankfulness with sharpie pens. That is my favourite new tradition!
Looking back on today, I remember our family walk in the sunshine and laughing with our beautiful little girl as we swung her round and round in the basement. Running and sliding in our socks on the slippery floor, dancing to Thanksgiving hymns. Pounding out “Baby Shark” on piano and guitar. Precious beautiful moments. And then those annoying, aching moments that just don’t fit in a Hallmark holiday. We took this beautiful Autumn selfie moments after having an argument at the park. We did make up before pushing the button.
Now my tired hubby is in bed after another argument about whether we can afford an Amazon bag of xylitol to help with our dental health.
It is with these juxtapositions of the day that I give thanks to God for people and things and another day to live and love and learn.
I turned 37 a few weeks ago and made this image in my notebook.
I got a bit ahead of myself and coloured half of 38. My goal is to colour in all 100 of them. When I showed the picture to Forest he said it reminded him of the red heart “health” tokens you get in a board game or video game. Except in this case, I am not losing hearts. I’m gaining them.
Our culture hates the idea of getting old. Billion dollar industries flourish with attempts to look, feel and make love like the young. Aging certainly has its challenges and losses that take incredible resilience to bear. I haven’t experienced the hardest of those yet. Not even close. (I did lose a bit of bounce when I turned 30.). I guess what I am trying to say is this, instead of dreading my older years and the trials they will bring, I want to count my years as blessings. Years made of days like this one- beautiful, hard, real, loving, finite.
Yesterday, a few of our church family members shared what they were grateful for. With tears in his eyes, a young man said “Salvation. Jesús has forgiven and paid for my sins. I get to spend eternal life with God.” His genuineness made those words anything but Christianese cliches. He was truly, astoundingly grateful that life doesn’t have to end when all the hearts are coloured in. I have heard the phrase “so heavenly minded they’re no earthly good.” I would say the opposite. When I know that my future is going to be this beautiful unending mysterious adventure beyond comprehension with someone who loves me more deeply than I can fathom; That he’s got me on these days when I am longing for more, I can stop grasping for perfection now and breathe and give thanks that all of these real moments are leading to something beautiful. I can be thankful for a husband to argue and laugh with, a daughter who both tantrumed on the sidewalk and gave the best hug ever today. Life doesn’t have to be tidy and glorious all the time. It can just be.
I invite you to count your years with me. Fill them with the colours of your highs and lows and embrace them as they are.
“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”
Psalms 90:12 NIV