Thankful for the gift of this moment

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I recently looked back over my journal from last year, and around this time I was facing my first holiday season without my dad. I’ve heard people talk about the sadness they’ve experienced during a holiday season that follows a death, but this was the first time I’d really struggled through it myself. I think- for me- Thanksgiving was even harder than Christmas.

All my life, Thanksgiving meant a very big party. We would have a giant family celebration with aunts, uncles, cousins….LOTS of cousins! We eventually outgrew my parents’ house, and for many years we all met at Oakwood’s gym. We’d have a big potluck meal, play basketball and volleyball, watch the kids run around and play. Then we’d sit around and catch up on each other’s lives. It was such a fun, happy time.

A really special part of it was the prayer before the meal. My dad would always get everyone to gather around for prayer and I can still remember how he prefaced the prayer every, single year. He’d say how thankful he was that we were all together again, thankful that God had given us one more Thanksgiving together, and how we should never take it for granted. He would sometimes remind us that next year when we get together, someone could be missing….So we should look around and thank God for this gift– this special time with each other, because we weren’t guaranteed another time like this.

Now he’s the one missing…and Thanksgiving will never be the same. We still get together and it’s still a big party. But someone’s not there…and he’s greatly missed. I’m so thankful for every Thanksgiving I got to enjoy with him. For the laughter…the hugs…the sweet, generous heart that he had for each member of our family…the strong godly example that he gave us…and the beautiful memories we cherish.

And I’m thankful that he taught me how to enjoy and appreciate each special family gathering. This year I want to remember to pause- like he did each year- and thank God for the moment…and for the gift that it is. Because we aren’t guaranteed another one like it.

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5 Responses to “Thankful for the gift of this moment”

  1. Karie Rice Says:

    Wow Charity! U sure do have a way with words. I’ll try to remember that this year.

  2. Charity Says:

    Thanks, Karie! Hope you have a great Thanksgiving!! =) We shall definitely have to get together soon!

  3. Sara Says:

    Daddy sure did love our family gatherings, didn’t he? Even with the Alzheimer’s he was still happiest when we were all together! I, too, remember that prayer every Thanksgiving and I’m glad you reminded us to each be thankful and make good memories at our family holiday events this year…you just never know.

  4. Nellie Says:

    WOW! Just going back through your blogs Charity, and this one hit me hard! As I am heading into this week, with Daddy’s birthday on Wednesday (Jan. 20th) I am thankful he is with the Lord, for his first heavenly birthday….but it is bittersweet to think he will not be with us. I am so thankful for the message in this, and am praying for my family to get through the next 2 weeks with God’s grace. Love to you! Congratulations on yours and Don’s baptism today!
    Love,
    Nellie

  5. Charity Says:

    Oh, Nell, I’ll be praying for you guys, especially over the next few weeks. It’s just so hard… so very hard. Every family get-together now I’m trying to focus on that thought–that I need to really be “in the moment” and appreciate it. It’s very easy to slip into the sadness, so I’m constantly on guard. Not that we don’t have our moments of sadness together…I think that’s a good and necessary thing. But I can’t let myself stay there, so focusing on the “gift of the moment” helps me stay grounded (if that makes sense?!) Anyway…I’ll be praying for you!
    Love you!

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