Thanksgiving a time for reflection
I watch her come up the walk. It is like watching myself ten years ago. Same dark hair, same dark eyes, head tilted into the wind, pushing forward.
She reaches the screen door, pushes it open. I meet her on the porch.
We stop momentarily and look at one another. She does not break into a big smile. Rather, a soft grin bends the line of her lips upward.
Her eyes moisten. I swallow down a great gulp working its way up my throat.
The moment passes and we walk, arm in arm into the house. An evening stretches before us, following a great swath the past has cut for us. There is much catching up to do.
A year has passed. We have gathered, celebrating. The holiday is approaching, and we will be with extended family — her husband and children, my brother and his family. We take the opportunity to have our own special dinner.
I have just completed a year’s treatment for breast cancer, and she is beginning a new job as curator of a local museum of art. I watch her move the salad around her plate and think about how blessed I am to find her there at the end of my long year’s journey, at the beginning of the next transition in my life.
I don’t think we ever know our ability to cope until we are presented with a challenge that threatens us, don’t think we can imagine the outpouring of love until it comes our way.
I think about how blessed I have been this past year.
I have come to a new awareness of being alone, of being without resources. Like the Velveteen Rabbit, tossed onto the rubbish pile because his master has the measles, I have had the experience of being loved until my spots were rubbed off and my fur thin.
I have had the experience of being lost, and of being found.
I have been loved by family and friends, touched by kindness and buoyed by the strength of caring strangers.
I will go where this next year takes me, knowing that when I was at my worst, those who loved me were at their best. As I continue on my journey, I carry with me a backpack chock full of support and good wishes from family, friends who have become family and family who have become friends. They are my portion, my bounty; they are my Thanksgiving.
She looks up from her salad and grins a smile the shape of a new moon. It sets my heart soaring, my spirit to new song, giving thanks. Thanksgiving.