Nov 282004

Forever on Thanksgiving Day the heart will find the pathway home. ~Wilbur D. Nesbit

I did make my way home for Thanksgiving. Lay and I drove to Kings Mountain, NC Tuesday. It’s a 700 mile trip, so that is the biggest part of a day. We put the luggage on one side of the back, folded down the seat on the other side, threw in some blankets and pillows, and took turns napping and driving.

While there, we not only spent time with family, but traveled up to Boone and Blowing Rock to catch up with my Greensboro friends, Glenda and Scott Miller. It’s become a tradition for us to meet up in the mountains sometime during Thanksgiving week. Ostensibly, this is for shopping, but as much as anything else, it’s a time to catch up and just spend some time together.

This year, the shopping was Friday, the traditional day for everyone. Things are packed, and there is that sense of being right there in the middle of the hustle and bustle. One of the best times was last year, when we met on Tuesday. We had the two towns nearly to ourselves that day.

Having the long drives gives one a chance to think some about the holiday. This is obviously the time set aside to contemplate the bounty we’ve been provided. While this has probably not been my best year, it certainly has not been the worst year. I have been blessed throughout the year, and have so much more than so many.

As I reflect back, I have to certainly to be thankful for the small impact all the hurricanes had on us. Certainly parts of Florida were hit hard, and there are people who still do not have their own place to live. In comparison, we were barely touched. For God’s protection during these times, I am grateful.

I am grateful for my family. My mother has had some health problems this year, but seems confident that she’ll be back to normal before too much longer. At least that’s what she says the doctor is telling her. I hope she is, and I’m glad that her problems don’t seem to be as serious as they could be. My two sisters and their families are all doing well, and I’m glad that we remain close and in touch. One of my mother’s cousins only recently was able to again get in touch with her brother after a couple of years. I just can’t imagine not even having an address for one of my sisters, and I am grateful that our family remains close.

My extended family is made up of many friends who have helped me in so many ways over the years, often without even realizing it. To list them all here would take too long. I hope that I have always made clear my gratitude for their continuing friendship. Albert Schweitzer said, “To educate yourself for the feeling of gratitude means to take nothing for granted, but to always seek out and value the kind that will stand behind the action. Nothing that is done for you is a matter of course. Everything originates in a will for the good, which is directed at you. Train yourself never to put off the word or action for the expression of gratitude.” I hope my friends all know that they and our friendship are never taken for granted.

I?ve been carried, led and pushed along the path of life by these people. I?m not always sure why the bother, but I’m sure glad they do. From them, I’ve learned to take the time and have the patience to help others. I’m sure I don’t do that enough, but I do try.

“What an enormous magnifier is tradition! How a thing grows in the human memory and in the human imagination, when love, worship, and all that lies in the human heart, is there to encourage it,” is how Thomas Carlyle described tradition. I am thankful for the traditions of my family. I am glad we take the time to come together and eat the traditional huge meal on Thanksgiving. Erma Bombeck said, “What we’re really talking about is a wonderful day set aside on the fourth Thursday of November when no one diets. I mean, why else would they call it Thanksgiving?” The food and the deserts are great, but it is the tradition of coming together, and the act of taking time to reflect about family, home and my many blessings.

I expect the year ahead to be one of many changes and challenges. I am thankful for so much this year, and I hope that remembering these blessings will carry through what may lie ahead. I know I have people who love me and care about what happens, and often, that is enough.

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