Four Truths and a Special Birthday Surprise
Sometimes the most unexpected gatherings are the ones we need the most. The dynamic of Thanksgiving had been a bit of a struggle for Ron and myself this year. Family is everything, so even one person's absence feels unsettling. We still knew we had much to be thankful for so rather than dwell on what wasn't, we decided to carry on with what was; an opportunity to enjoy and appreciate who was able to sit around the dinner table.
Following Thanksgiving, we had another family gathering planned. A surprise celebration to attend for my aunt who was turning 77 years young. I was excited about the party because it would allow for more time together. More time to laugh, more time to love, more time to appreciate who I do have around me. I have found when my heart is missing some family members, I crave more opportunities to spend with the people I treasure.
The party was a huge success and even though I felt like it was just what I needed, as I observed the room and interactions, I realized that others needed it just as much as I did. There is nothing like celebrating with the people you love. And, when you are willing to let go of hurts and expectations you're able to recognize how wonderful life is. Watching cousins, friends and siblings interact with laughter, love, and full hearts is what made this gathering so special.
I still missed Sam, I still missed my sister who was unable to attend, and of course, my oldest brother who was looking down on us with a peaceful soul and laughter but missing them reminded me of these simple truths and why it is so important to celebrate what we have.
Truth 1: Life Can Be Hard.
That is not a suggestion, it's a reality. People deal with hard things all the time. Love, loss, distance, health, and the list goes on. Yet, acknowledging a hard place doesn't mean it we have to give it the power to keep us down and defeated. Recognize where you are and decide where you want to be then take small steps to help get you there.
Truth 2: I Can't Control Everything.
Calling all control freaks like myself here! God likes to remind me of this regularly. This truth has been my biggest hurdle and blessing. I can't control everything, including where my children will end up or how life will play out but I can control how I handle those unexpected things. I do have a choice to look for the purpose in difficult circumstances above and beyond the pain. I have a choice to laugh, love and participate in life in front of me instead of wishing for something that's not here.
Truth 3: I Still Have Much To Be Thankful For.
Amen. Even with the first two truths weighing me down at times, I still have much to be thankful for. I have today. I have my family. I have my faith. I have a home. I have clean water! It doesn't take very long to do a quick inventory of my life to pull out all the things that shouldn't be taken for granted. They are all gifts and I don't want to take advantage of any of them. Contentment is found with what we currently have instead of always seeking out more.
Truth 4: God Is Good, All The Time.
Despite the situations I have faced the growth that it has produced in me proves this truth over and over again. God is good all the time and the trials and triumphs I've faced have given my life more meaning than I could ever imagine. He gives purpose to every occurrence and so I can rest in this truth because I'm living proof of the wisdom and growth he continues to provide. My aunt's celebration was also a testament to this. Her children hadn't spent a holiday altogether in 18 years. The celebration ended being less about her birthday and more about the much-needed reunion of her family. God is good, All the time.
As we continue into this holiday season look around for the everyday gift your life is filled with and embrace the joy from unexpected celebrations with the people you love.