The dark eggplant purple folder, labeled THANKSGIVING and stuffed with recipes, place cards, a proclamation, vintage clip art and notes, slides into its slot in the file drawer to slumber contentedly. . .the feast was good this year. Different. But Good.
Old structures were dismantled, but the foundation held, and we are shoring up with new, fresh wood. He is the God Who “plucks up. . .and breaks down” in order to “build and to plant” (Jeremiah 1:10). It was hard to let some things go, but until we release what He requires of us, our hands are not free to receive what He sends.
We must learn to think of our lives as changing seasons.
Healing comes in embracing the season of here and now, while we plant seeds for the season to come.
We must not give way to melancholia. We must not think death will not come to us. We must learn to think of Old Age, not as a curse, but as a natural order of things, and a gift and a responsibility if we are so blessed to receive it. We must not be afraid. We must let the next generation find its way. But we can, and we will, leave a porch light on. . .
We cry for Egypt, when He is bringing us into a Promised Land.
But in reality, when He holds our dreams and desires in His hands, we and they (the dreams and desires) are kept safe.
And that leaves one last page to add to the dark purple folder before I put it away: the “What Worked This Year. . .” list
But . . .this year, I will record the list as Grace Gifts. . . because now i understand. . .you cannot make Traditions out of Grace. . .
#0821 – edging the rush of holidays with a few days of quiet and reflection. . .pure grace that those days fell by the sea. .
#0822 – where sunrises took our breath away and teal blue thundered eternity on a sandy shore and clouds floated like blue dolphins in a pink ocean. . .
#0823 – early morning cold, drawstring on hoodie pulled tight under my chin, sitting in a sand chair next to my man who watches his line in the surf. . .
#0824 – afternoon walks on the island. . .
#0825 – simple, candle lit dinners as evening rolled across the ocean. . .
#0826 – romantic Christmas movies. . . (really awful ones on the Hallmark channel because we forgot the DVD’s. . .but then we laughed so hard at was awful and learned what Tur-Dunken is. . .and it’s probably not what you think)
#0827 – Duck’s Cottage, coffee and book shop on the Sound, where the owner leaned on the register and chatted about the merits of Coconut Crunch over Mucky Duck and how many books she reads a week. . .because it is the “off season” and what everybody has on the island is . . .time. . .
#0828 – waiting until the last minute to leave. . .two days before Thanksgiving, and then following the rose-colored sun west. . .but the sun was faster. . .and the last hour in the dark, I let Big Guy and Jess pilot the ship, and I was cozy in the back singing loud to the Praise songs pumping through my earbuds. . .
#0829 – and on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, deciding to do a little shopping, and eating soup at the bookstore café, and getting my hair done. . .because Island Peace is still in me and though Tom Turkey waits. . .there is no reason to rush. . .it is “off season” yet. . .
#0830 – And on Thanksgiving Eve, after the hair appointment, I walk a long ways across a dark parking lot to a fast food restaurant to wait with a good book and a sweet iced tea for someone to pick me up. . .because I was finished early and they left late and there was a Detour. . .and it's dark and I was in a scary place. . .but I am NEVER alone. . .
#0831 – And finally rescued and escorted home, where I find why they were late. . .because the Christmas tree is up, and fluffed and lit, and the potatoes are peeled and the stuffing is almost done, and a little white deer covered in a string of lights munches the withered leaves of the hydrangea. . .and i run happy from item to item, clapping my hands in thanks giving. . .
#0832 – And Thanksgiving eve closes on the halo of a memory of all four of us. . .together. . .in the kitchen. . .preparing our favorite dishes to take to my mother’s in the morning. . .where I will see my sister, her husband and daughters. . .my papa. . .and we will linger long after the dishes are cleared from the Table of Thanks. . .and tell stories and laugh until our sides hurt. . .
These are the Things That Worked This Year. . .and I seal the fragrance of Grace Gifts in the dark purple folder to be released again Next Year. . .God Willing. . .when the Season Rolls ‘Round Again. . .
Counting with the Community at. . .