I may as well go ahead and say "Happy Thanksgiving!" I have been meaning to write a Thanksgiving blog for some time now, but just didn't have it in me. I know this may cause some kind of outrage but I am not a fan of the Thanksgiving holiday. Don't get me wrong - I am very blessed and VERY thankful for all of the blessings that God has poured out on me! However, I really dislike having a day when we are all expected to put on a big meal and get all the family together, just to eat and then clean it all up. Maybe it's a little bit of laziness on my part, but I just don't get the point.
Not to put all of the blame on my mother, BUT, growing up, I can remember going over to my grandmother's house every Thanksgiving. The food was amazing!! (I mean really, can ANYBODY make turkey and dressing and pumpkin pie like a grandma???) The company was fun, and I enjoyed it. Until it was over. 'Cause when it was over, everybody except for me and my cousin went to the den to watch football. And I'm sure I don't even have to say what fun was waiting for us... yep, ALL the dishes. And of course, just to pour salt in my wounds, grandma didn't have a dishwasher. (Well she did, but it didn't work, and "what is the need for fixin' it, when it's just as easy and faster to wash 'em by hand?") This probably sounds really spoiled and I think I'd whop Joshua a good one if he ever complained about a holiday because he had to do a little work at the end, BUT this is my memory.
So this year, I must say, I was most looking forward to Thanksgiving Day spent all alone. That's right, Joshua was in Arkansas and Lowell was leaving on Wednesday to go there himself. I was going to eat a peanut butter sandwich, kick back and watch some FaLaLaLa Lifetime. But you know what they say about the best laid plans.
A couple of days before my wonderfully planned out day of rest, we got a phone call from the parents of one of the guys who lives with us. The father was inviting us to to eat Thanksgiving Day brunch at a local hotel with his family. I've written many blog entries about their son and to say that the apple didn't fall far from the tree would be an understatement. This was most definitely not the way I wanted to spend my day or the people I wanted to share it with. However, since a large part of our job is built upon the relationships we have with the families of the men we serve, we decided to accept the invitation and make the best of it. And let me tell ya', it was not easy!
After several phone calls that morning where he expressed his dismay in the fact that one of the other gentlemen had not been picked up yet and this might cause us to be delayed and he reminded me that he was doing us the favor of taking us out so we wouldn't have to cook and he had made a reservation and all and it would be rude to be late (yes, he really said all that), we arrived at the hotel only to find that we were the first ones there. The family came in several minutes later. We were introduced to the sister whom we had never met, along with her "latest boyfriend" who apparently didn't have a name. We later found out they had been dating for a year and a half. You don't have to know these folks long to figure out why she might have had several previous boyfriends. "Latest" was a decent guy and hopefully he'll stay around and bring a little sanity to the family.
We dug right in to the buffet (with no prayer of Thanksgiving or even mention of things we might be thankful for). We got a lesson - that went on and on - on the proper angle to hold your dinner plate when walking from the buffet to the table to ensure that no food slips. And we heard all about them. Their son was virtually ignored until another family with a son who also had special needs came in. Then it was all about "Do you know him? Why don't you say 'hi'?" Really people?? Just because they have special needs doesn't mean they all know one another. Made me want to say, "Hey that man over there looks ignorant! Do you know him? Why don't you say 'hi?"
But by far, by far, the quote of the day came when he was speaking of his conservative beliefs and how much trouble is being caused for our country by people who don't believe quite the same as he does. He actually said, "Personally, I think we should do like Hitler, line up all the liberals, and euthanize them." I just about feel out of my chair. Really??? Really?? You really think that Hitler had something going on? Think he hit the nail on the head? If you don't like somebody, just kill 'em off??? I just wanted to say, "Trust me pal, you for one, need to be thankful that Hitler's method is not a commonly accepted practice."
I couldn't get home soon enough. As I sat in my chair, not having to do any dishes, or clean up anybody else's mess, I realized that God was teaching me a great lesson. Not just in restraint of my tongue or in patience of my heart, but in what I am truly thankful for. I am most grateful for a family that enjoys eating together, praying together, and sharing about that which we are thankful. I am so blessed to have people in my life who love me even when I only talk about myself, and when I say or do really stupid things. I am blessed to have been raised in a family that taught me that you don't kill people just because you don't like them. (Never really thought I would have a need to say that, but...) I am blessed to have a mother and father who taught me that washing the dishes after a meal is the very least I can do to say "thank you" to a grandmother who cooked all week to prepare the meal. And I am so blessed that God gave me a child to whom I can also teach these same lessons and a husband who will teach him with me. And knowing that I would give pretty much anything to have a Thanksgiving meal one more time with the only person I ever knew who was willing to work all week just to make the best cornbread dressing EVER, my grandma, I will make it a point to look forward to next November, when hopefully, I will be able to join with the people I love and celebrate all the blessings for which we are truly thankful!
But I'd really rather not have to do the dishes...