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Monday, November 30, 2009

Still Thankful

For probably twenty-three of the twenty-five years of my married life, I have spent Thanksgiving Day being spoiled by my mother-in-law's abundant hospitality. She cooked enough food for twice as many people as we had present. She had shopped for the whole year to fill bags of goodies for each one of us (the kids and grand kids) because the Thanksgiving holiday would also serve as our Christmas gift exchange with this side of the family. She gave and gave and then gave some more. And eight months ago, she relocated from Canyon, TX to the place in Heaven that Jesus had prepared for her.

When we loaded the car last week to head to Canyon, we knew it would be different this year. There would still be food (though not as much). There would still be football games on TV. There would still be card games and laughter and family. But Mamaw wouldn't be there. Other family members offered to host the gathering, but Papaw wanted us there ... in his home ... his family together like always.

And so we were there. We were missing some kids and grand kids, but we added boyfriends and girlfriends. We ate, we played, we watched, we napped, we laughed ... we remembered Mamaw and we cried a little bit. Most of all, I think, we realized that there was still much to be thankful for and we were thankful. Our family is still a family. Our traditions are still intact. We are not hesitant to say, "I love you." We are not ashamed to pray and talk about what the Lord has done.

Yes, it was different. Yes, we still have our moments when the lingering grief sneaks up and grabs us unexpectedly, tightening our throats and filling our eyes with tears. But we are still thankful.

You are my God, and I will give you
thanks; You are my God, and I will
exalt you. Give thanks to the Lord,
for he is good; his love endures

(Psalm 118:28-29, NIV)