The first Thanksgiving after Lisa died, I couldn’t sit at my parent’s dining room table. There was something about that extra leaf – the additional chairs crowded around the dark walnut wood, the missing place setting, the stuffing she offered to make because she didn’t much like my parent’s South Carolina cornbread dressing – not on the table that year.
It was painful just to walk in their house. There were so many good memories – and at the time, every single one of them seemed torn to shreds.
The second year, the meal was easier. The family enjoyed conversation. We didn’t avoid her name – but the memories shared brought more smiles than tears. But it was still difficult to be thankful. My focus was on what I lost, not what I had.
How do you bow your head and thank God when you feel He has taken your most valued relationship, your very best friend?
I think it starts when you stop looking within and begin looking out. Anger is natural, but it’s also pretty selfish.
When I got to the point that I could put my life into perspective, when I could see how many others in this world had so many bigger obstacles than I had, then and only then could I find a reason to be thankful. The real kicker came when I saw numerous others, who had suffered a great deal more than I, talking about how grateful they were for their many blessings. I couldn’t see mine, and I certainly couldn’t see theirs.
This year is different. This year, I see so much good.
My three girls
My good friends
All of the grandparents
Uncle Jesse, Aunt Sallie, Uncle Dash, Uncle Matt and Aunt Mel
My job and my co-workers
My church family
and that’s just scratching the surface…