By now many of us are beginning the frantic and frenetic pace of preparing for the descent of families around our tables. Some no doubt are mentally packing Thanksgiving away even before it has arrived and moved on to Christmas lists and schedules and decorations. Before we begin the wonderful Advent journey that begins in just two Sundays I would like to share with you a few lines of gratitude. Here is my abridged list for this year:
· Growing up in a rural county on a farm surrounded by a family that believed in conversation, work, and fierce loyalty.
· Looking out to my back yard and watching gold, umber and burgundy leaves flutter to the ground.
· Good books and great books.
· The memory of my old dog Samson, now buried in the back yard. Six months after his death I am still finding the remains of old tennis balls in our woods that he use to fetch with arthritic joints and drop at my feet smiling as dogs so often do.
· My little plot of collard greens and my hope to begin picking them for New Years Day.
· A cord and a half of split and dry firewood given to me by a generous church member.
· The Aiken Farmers Market and the beautiful people who grow wonderful things to eat. One Saturday we met a grandmother selling delicious apple cakes – we wanted to take her home with us, but we bought a cake instead.
· Wednesday night dinners. Sure, I take my food home to eat but it is not really about the food. Just to see church members and laugh and talk is nourishment enough.
· There are few things that happen at church that are any better than a hug from one of the children and to hear my name called. I wish I could remember the name of every child like “Mrs. Patti” but each one is very special.
· My two boys who are now young men, with drivers licenses, facial hair and their own personalities. I remember well when they were just babies and needed us for everything.
· Amy. After all these years there is still the marvel of discovery and wonder. There is also the comfort of the familiar. In the words of the poet Browing, “Grow old along with me/ the best is yet to be.
You know something? There just is not enough space to write about it all. Thanksgiving is really not about a day or season. Thanksgiving is a way of living. I am grateful to spend part of my life with you, my church. Thank you for being such an important and enduring part of my life.
Grace be with you,