Today is Thanksgiving Day in Canada. Today I reflect on thankfulness.
Yesterday, we celebrated Thanksgiving Dinner with my son and his family, and my daughter. My son and daughter-in-law are the most amazing cooks. Their turkey dinner (and most other meals they cook) would beat any contest going. I’ve often nagged them to open their own restaurant, to no avail. To their credit, they’ve both worked in the foodservice industry and they know the hard work and expense that such a venture entails. They prefer to share their culinary talents with friends and families for free. We are always delighted when we get an invite.
My son and his daughter-in-law both have the gift of hospitality. Although I encouraged my son’s culinary interests, the love of hospitality was not something that he inherited from me. Perhaps I slaved over the kitchen stove when my kids were growing up but I no longer do so, nor do I desire to. I am truly thankful for these two special people in our lives that pour out their talents to bless others.
I am thankful for the gift of a beautiful granddaughter. Needless to say, because of her parents, this young one will grow up with a very sophisticated palate. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if she becomes a chef or some other type of expert in the food industry. At the age of one, her future is a blank slate waiting to be written. We can place options in front of her, but in the end, it will be the talents imbued by her creator that will draw her to her chosen field. I am thankful to have the opportunity to encourage her to develop her God-given talents.
I am thankful for my husband. Because of his faithfulness to me and dedication to our life, I have everything that I need. More importantly, I have someone that does his best to take care of me when I can’t take care of myself. Those difficult days happen too frequently. But he never complains.
My husband and I are polar opposites in many respects. One balances what the other lacks. He freezes at the technological challenges that stupify many of our generation, while I take up such challenges with the belief that if a small child can learn it, then I can too. I’m willing to take risks while he prefers playing it safe. He needs structure, clarity and defined schedules, while I function with loose boundaries and diffuseness. I may see a fridge full of opportunities while he only sees sandwiches and canned soup. Together we may be opposites, but we encourage each other to greatness.
That wasn’t always the case. There was a time when we attacked each other’s differences. Now we accept them and embrace them, and admire them. Each is what the other is not. Today I am grateful for this diversity.
I am thankful for my daughter. Her challenges and limitations taught me patience and acceptance. I think back to how incredibly impatient I was as a young mom. Because of her, I learned to pause, reflect and develop critical thinking. Parenting a special needs child requires strong problem-solving skills. Because of her, I developed a strength in that area. Without her, I would still be an incredibly selfish woman. Today when I see people who struggle with life, I wonder if they have loving family and friends to help them cope with their disabilities. I see the failure of our society to address the needs of the disadvantaged and my spirit cries. I am thankful that I can understand and that I have been blessed enough that I can help.
I am thankful that my husband has two daughters and a precious granddaughter that love him. Even though they are three thousand miles apart, he has a connection and a bond with them that tells him that he is loved. The physical distance saddens him. All miss out on the special occasions in each other’s lives. Birthdays, Christmas, Thanksgiving and special events are celebrated without each other. This is an unfortunate reality. Thankfully, technology makes distance less distant. I’m thankful that he is loved. Because he feels loved, he is able to love me more.
I am thankful for so many wonderful friends that grace our lives. There are people that pour into our lives and allow us the opportunity to pour into theirs. Sometimes we are so empty and we need others to fill us. When love overflows in our hearts we can spill over into others. Love is that gift that just keeps on giving.
I’m thankful for the memories of our parents. My mother still lives, but her life is frail and fading. It’s always sad and painful when people pass. But we can hold on to great memories that remind us of those that loved us and encouraged us in our lives.
I’m most grateful for the Christian foundation instilled by my parents. I shudder to think what my life would be without that. Because of them, I know that Jesus lives and I know he cares about my daily life. Because of their influence, I learned to talk to God and to listen to the sound of his voice. My youthful rebellion proved that a life lived poorly is a life wasted, but obedience brings fruitfulness. Despite the many wrong paths that I took in my life, I eventually came back to the truth. We all make mistakes, but the education of our childhood cannot be understated. For that childhood and a lifetime of memories, I am grateful.
I am thankful for Canada, the country of my birth. Our country still permits political and religious differences. We can still vote our conscience and worship in the church of our choice. Most of us enjoy clean drinking water and clean air. We live with a relatively high standard of living. In our individual home provinces, we enjoy the security of no-fee basic and emergency health care. This system is far from perfect, but it’s something even our neighbors don’t have. There are many social and political challenges in this country, but we enjoy privileges that many countries don’t. For that, I am grateful.
For all of these things and more, I am thankful.
Happy Thanksgiving Canada.