Every year Thanksgiving looks different, and this year is no exception. This year, it’s just another day. This year, it’s one more day Mom is spending in the hospital. This year, it’s catered by Cracker Barrel via a dear, long time family friend. This year, it’s the day after Mom officially stopped pursuing cancer treatment and chose to allow High Point Hospice to make her final days as comfortable as possible.  
This year, it could be sad, but like every other day I’ve chosen happiness, thankfulness, transparency, and strength.  
That doesn’t mean that I am stoic and cold; completely the opposite. I have learned that there is strength in feeling the emotions that come in (oftentimes unexpected) waves, expressing them however necessary and moving forward with a level head.  
Over the last couple of weeks, Chris Tomlin’s song “Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone) has been on repeat in my heart. I finally downloaded it today and listened to it over and over as I drove into work. I needed time to cry, to let God speak to my spirit, replenish my strength and patch the cracks in my heart that come from being overtired and simply dealing with the daily struggles that come with this journey. I have learned that there is significant power in appreciating the hard times and emotions, because it makes the good ones feel so much better and makes the smile you see on my face and the eruption of laughter you hear so very genuine.
Through all of this, I have been blown away by all of the amazing people who have shown up and shown epic love for me and my family. The offers of fulfilling wants, needs, and promises to pick up the phone any time day or night have been nothing short of a reminder, in the midst of one more transition, that I am loved, blessed and fortunate beyond measure.
I would like to challenge you to also choose happiness and thankfulness, regardless of your belief system and regardless of what life may throw your way. Remember that there is always someone out there who has it worse than you do. Remember that sometimes you need to cut negativity out of your life and refocus your energy on the positive. Remember to use your hands and words to spread hugs, love and kindness to all, but especially to those you hold dear. Remember that tomorrow is not promised. Remember to be thankful for what today looks like because, if tomorrow comes, it could look far better or way worse than today.  
And finally, remember that I love you. And Jesus loves you, too.
xoxoxo

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