Sometimes Giving Thanks Requires Perspective

dinnerwareYesterday, I was a little down. Funny how Holidays can sometimes do that to you when it’s supposed to be a time of great joy. But, then occasionally, something triggers the blues when you’re least expecting it. For me, all it took was a cheap table and some dishes to break me down.

My day started out productive. I had just returned from grocery shopping with all I had left to get on my list for Thanksgiving. And, before my husband could leave for the gym, I asked him to help me expand our dining room table so we could see how it would fit in the room for Thursday. We’ve never actually done this before, and we’ve owned the thing for four years. I was nervous about waiting until the last minute to open it up and then… who knows what could go wrong?

Even though he grumbled about it, my instincts were right – the table broke in half with the extra leaf half falling on Danny. He then went from grumbling under his breath to something much louder that I can’t repeat here. It seems the mechanisms on each side of the leaf that allowed it to slide out and support the table had been jarred apart during our move from St. Louis three years ago. Pulling the table as hard as we could, we splintered the wood, plastic parts underneath shattered into little pieces and all came crashing down. We did manage to put the table back together in its’ original form – big enough for four.

I plopped down on the couch, completely defeated. How were we now going to fit seven people at our table? Danny’s mood changed to one of comfort and affability as he told me we would all just have to squeeze in, maybe someone would sit on the couch, and we’d all be laughing about it come Thursday. This did not console me. As he left for the gym, I continued to pout on that couch for the next hour, and have a pretty unproductive day following that.

Later that evening, another trigger. Pulling our good dishes out of storage for the first Thanksgiving dinner I would make for more than just the three of us, I was reminded of the cost of an earlier move. The move we originally made from Arizona to Colorado, nine years ago. Our kitchen is too small to store everything we registered for from our wedding and received from friends and family, so some of it would have to go in the garage to be pulled out when needed. Now was that time. Only, several serving bowls and dishes, hundreds of dollars worth and gifts from people like Danny’s grandmother who has since passed on, have been missing since that first move, presumably mixed up with the trash and thrown out. I’ve never gotten over it.

Because we’ve moved five times in the nine years we’ve been married and are still not sure we’re done moving, we’ve not invested in good furniture, nor in replacing what we’ve lost, knowing there may always be another move soon in our future. We expected we’d be settled by now and starting to fill our home with the things we love, but we’re not there yet and have a long ways to go to get there.

The table, the dishes – they’re just things. But, last night, they symbolized the uncertainty of nearly a decade, and the anxiety I do my best to keep tempered. It’s appropriate then that tomorrow is Thanksgiving, because it is only by remembering the things I have to be thankful for, and how God has provided for us thus far, that I can release myself from my obnoxious self-pity.

One thing that God always provides, is perspective. Yesterday, a post a friend made on her blog and asked me to share, gave me that perspective, along with a post by another friend a week ago.

So, before I set to work making the cranberry sauce and baking the pies I had planned to do today, I want to share these two posts with you and how they have helped me to be more grateful. Maybe they will help you too, and in turn you can help them.


TylerMy friend, Daria is helping to spread the word about her friend’s nephew, Tyler, who is 15 and has a brain tumor. Tyler’s mom, is a single mom of two, and has had to take leave of her job and move her family back in with her own mother to take care of her son. To help defray hospital costs, Daria’s friend, Heather is raffling off a beautiful quilt she has made that would make a great Christmas present! Please read on to hear more of their story and for the PayPal link to buy a raffle ticket to make this family’s holiday a little more joyful…


second-graders at Christmas

Mara's second-graders with gifts from Santa in 2008.

Need a little more perspective? Then consider these samples from letters written to Santa, by some of the eight-year-olds in my friend, Heather’s sister’s second-grade class here in Denver (unedited):

“…I need a blanket and I need food to eat because I have NO blankest becauze my mom doesnt have money.”

“…the winter is so cold and I need boots.  I’m wearing my grandpas shoze and hes feet are too big so I trip.  I also need soks because I can’t find any.”

“…I need a blanket because I sleep on the ground.  Something els I need Is Pillows becaues I need them so the floor wont hurt my neck.”

“..I Need a blancit cos i am cold at nit. I need to go to shcol. I want a fotbal cos i like fotbals.”

Heather’s sister, Mara, is taking donations to help make these kids’ Christmases a little brighter, just by making sure they are warm and have some basic necessities. Please visit Heather’s blog to read more and see how easy it is to help.


Thank you, God, for helping me to see how truly blessed I am. I have everything I need – a warm home, a full pantry, and most importantly, my family is healthy and whole and I have amazing people in my life I am blessed to call good friends.

 

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Comments

  1. 1

    says

    Thank you Chris for sharing these posts. Wow, those letters to Santa broke my heart. I am so incredibly lucky and need a kick in the pants sometimes to remind myself just how lucky we really are…

    Thank you again. Goodwill usually has pretty decent tables for not too much $, throw a tablecloth on top and you are set! :)

  2. 3

    says

    I had my breakdown today in the store picking up some last minute things. I was rushing around like always and almost hit a sweet older gentleman coming out of the aisle. He told said “its ok beautiful, you go ahead” and I just lost it thinking of my dad and how this will be the first year without him.

    It never seems to be the big significant things that break us tough girls. It is always the small unexpected moments.

    Happy Thanksgiving…I am thankfully to have you as a friend.

    • 4

      says

      Oh, Barb! I’ll be thinking of you and your family and be sure to cover you in prayer this Thanksgiving. I know this is going to be a tough one.

      I am truly blessed to know you and call you my friend as well. Happy Thanksgiving to you too!

    • 6

      says

      Funny how that works, isn’t it? Glad to be of help. :-)

      I hope we’ll still be here too. You and I have much more to do together! Thank you for being such a wonderful friend, Lori.

      Happy Thanksgiving!

  3. 7

    says

    What a beautiful example of Passing It Forward! – Your Post!

    Also, I understand your frustration. I think it is a mom-nest thing. It is something within us to want to shape the atmosphere in our homes, from our placemats, to the plates to the prayers. We’re renting right now (our house hasn’t sold in the other state) – and it seems so inbetween. I’m not good at inbetween. I want to plant those roots of the family good and deep and watch the blossoms turn to seed. However, God really wants me to be like an Israelite in the desert right now – where the journey is more important than the stuff in the boxes. Sometimes, it’s hard to separate both – because of that nesting thing inside! I hope your Christmas is filled with joy and that the joy buries the frustration. I’m working on that! Your post is a perfect kick-off to the season of giving:)

    http://bluecottonmemory.wordpress.com/2010/11/24/pass-it-forward/
    bluecottonmemory recently posted..Unconditional Love- Rule 8

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