Friday, November 23, 2007

Thanksgiving Day-Message

Matt Brannagan, who maintains our blog and newsletter, advised me it would be smart to leave a Thanksgiving time message. There’s a lot that would be cliché to include in a T-day blog. My friend Richard says, “Hey, cliché is important!” And yet, perhaps we ought consider and be thankful for … well, the challenges that we face.

I have a friend who is having major surgery this coming Monday. She’s known about the situation for quite some time and shared with me about it a few weeks ago. It’s something that can be, at the least, quite unnerving and overwhelming for her. She’s a single mom raising two teenage sons. She’s a small business owner. There’s a lot at stake right now.

The last few weeks I’ve witnessed her move and act with dignity and grace and integrity, attending to her life and those she cares about. I’ve yet to see her despondent, angry, spiteful, resentful, scattered or remorseful. Rather, she walks right into the challenges she faces. Oh, it’s possible that she’s felt those emotions in her quiet times alone at home. But she hasn’t made them part of her daily presentation of self that I’ve been able to see. What courage!

Over the weeks that her news has been part of my life, I’ve been invited into her world in the form of discussions over meals about things large and small that truly matter. How the kids are. How her product line is being accepted. How extended family may respond to her situation. What’s happening in our little community, our quaint town, our country and our world. And she’s listened with an ear sans judgment to the challenges I face. These are intimate everyday discussions that make a friendship … well … a friendship.

Today is Thanksgiving Day. I’m in Sacramento with my young sons, one a high school senior, the other a college sophomore … still asleep they are, one on the floor and the other in his bedroom, though it is almost nine o’clock. And as I look at them I think, “still asleep probably in some other ways that don’t involve late night teen age or early twenty’s lifestyles.” We’re headed in two hours for a traditional meal with one of these young guy’s godfather and his family. My friend, who’s having surgery, is elsewhere with other friends and family and most likely bringing her strong spirit to that gathering.

Challenges – we ought be thankful for them. They bring life to us … and us to life.

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