Even in tragedy, we still have so much to be thankful for.
As I pause to reflect on my life this morning, I can’t help but be thankful. And, not because there are people out there that have it worse than me. After all, tragedy is all around us; disease and famine prevalent. Sadly, we all know and have experienced suffering in some way. The past thirteen months have been a torrential downpouring of grief, loss, heartache, and heaviness. Losing our first born son on October 24th, last year, was only the beginning of a journey undesired. A journey that has revealed things in me that were hidden. I’ve yet to adequately put into words all that my heart has to say. I don’t know if I will ever be able. But, it comforts me to know that God hears every cry, every thought, and every detail of my heart; the very language it speaks.
Just now, as I type, I hear a loud thump downstairs. My first thought is that Christiano just woke up, but quickly my mind remembers that he is no longer here with us. Yes, there are still those moments that I forget for a second, and there are other moments that the idealistic pictures in my brain cause me to think there’s still a chance that he will walk through the door.
So, why am I thankful? Well, for many reasons. For starters – I am still here. There were many times in the beginning of my grief journey that I didn’t know if I would make it. There were other times that I wanted not to make it. ‘If i could just fall asleep and wake up in heaven,’ I would think to myself. Not only am I here – alive and breathing, but I am present. I am wide awake to the life that I have been blessed with and aware of God’s unending love for me. I am thankful for His love that endures all of this with me and for a savior who laid his life down for mine.
I am thankful for my husband and the changes I have seen in him. I’ve seen him let go and let God in a brand new way. For him seeing God in me and encouraging me that there is a bigger picture than the one I can visualize. I am thankful for my daughter who makes my life so much fun. She has been more than just a daughter, but a true friend to me this past year. When I think of her hugs, her silly dances, her beautiful mind – well, I can’t help but light up. I am thankful for my sons, all three of them; for teaching me so much about love, for seeing me through eyes of grace and mercy. To Brian for not letting me slack and for lovingly nudging me forward; for telling me I’m strong when I feel so weak and for reminding me from who my strength comes. To Nate for the powerful prayer sessions when I can’t seem to pull it together and for all of the cuddles and snuggles. For always telling me ‘you’re the best mom ever,’ and meaning it with your whole heart. For our family as a whole – I’m thankful. We’ve grown even closer to each other and closer to the Lord. We love harder and make each day matter most. We don’t wait for tomorrow to say things that can be said now, and we make our moments count. For a church that is family; a place that I can go no matter what condition I am in, and for impact – the most wonderful group of young people. They are loving, kind, and give the best hugs ever. For my family who have been true friends, and for the friends who have been more like family.
For the mothers who have gone before me or ahead of me in the most agonizing journey known to humankind – thank you for loving me. I couldn’t do this without you ladies by my side. To Tammy – you have encouraged me to remember that this isn’t our forever home. You’ve gone ahead of me, and you always made me feel normal when I thought I was crazy. Thank you. To Debbie – you let me in to your most sacred place and loved me. You called me honey and sweetie, and you have loved me even in your pain. Thank you. To Joann – we met in the very beginning stages at a support group for grieving parents. You had only recently lost Nicholas, and you shared your mothers heart with all of us. I knew right away we would be friends. Your love for your son was immediately recognizable to me. Your wisdom and love are so helpful to me. Thank you. I still hurt for you, every day. I love you, and I know that we were meant to be friends. To Cathy; who, just last week, unwillingly joined us on this journey. We are forever connected. Please know that I am here for you. Seeing you on Tuesday made me realize that God put me in your path for this very moment. Thank you. Just like he has put the three ladies In my path to help me, I am here to help you. I love you.
And, lastly, I’m thankful for the eighteen years that I had my little boy. For his abundant joy, his infectious spirit and his hearty laugh. For his unique humor, his masterful story telling skills, his giving heart and his old soul. For his unconditional love, and his charming personality. For all of it. Even for the tough times, I am thankful. You certainly weren’t perfect, Christiano, but you were perfect for me.
I’ve heard it said that we can all find something to be thankful for. But, I don’t think we have to search very far. There is just so much to give thanks for today. Even in the darkest moments, the light of God shines brighter. And, for that alone, I am thankful.
Happy Thanksgiving, friends. I pray that you all find some beautiful in your day.
IN EVERYTHING GIVE THANKS. 1 Thessalonians 5:18