With only days until Thanksgiving, my heart is shifting in miraculous ways. So is our life. Life is shifting in miraculous ways, and I feel it over and over again at the most unexpected moments. The more I consciously still myself and concentrate on that shifting sensation, the more it expands. And it feels wonderful. Unpredictable, a little scary maybe, but wonderful. Long-whispered prayers are being answered for us, out of the blue.
At the same time, loss that we would never have predicted is carving big holes in our bones. Loved ones gone, loved ones missing. All our traditions and routines are cast in a new light, and it’s not always pretty. Of course the holiday season brings all of this center stage.
Life, despite loss, is thriving. This holiday season will be much different from last year. Just as last year was much different from the year before. It’s this brackish water where we’re always drawn to swim, this deep pool, warm and salty like tears. But clear and sparkling in the sun. Both.
Sometimes in bitter moments I wonder if life sends us pain to temper the joy, to keep us humble. But in my heart I believe the opposite: That life sends us joy to help us bounce back from pain. To give us good things to reach for, people to actively love, instead of crumbling in around ourselves.
This week we did a pretty silly thing. On a whim of decluttering mania, owed in part to the recent snow storm (cabin fever makes us want to clean) but mostly to a summer’s worth of collecting and indulgent fake decorating, Handsome and I sold a bunch of our furniture and put even more in storage. Dishes, too. The downstairs front room is pretty much empty now, vacant and echo-y like we just moved in. Pacino the parrot loves the new acoustics.
And it turns out we’re hosting Thanksgiving! haha, Haha, see what I mean? Shifting. Life is shifting, but it mostly gives me this effervescent feeling in my belly, and it warms my heart. Let’s call it… Emotional champagne. Okay?
Maybe because I’m a Pisces? I don’t know. But this back-and-forth swimmy reality, this brackish-water awareness that life is both grief and joy, both profound loss and shocking, blinding relief, it pleases me deeply. The balance keeps me upright and in the moment. Anything is possible. Both thrilling and terrifying, every day holds the potential for very real miracles.
So I have learned to look neither too far ahead nor too far in the past, except to give thanks and ask for grace. This day, this exact moment, is more than enough. We are not alone, and no matter what happens we will be okay.
Back to Thanksgiving prep! This weekend Handsome and I are recharging our batteries a bit. Hoping to spend some time with good friends and maybe our oldest daughter. Probably doing a little domestic rearranging, a little nest feathering. A lot of romancing.
As I type, the skies are bluish gray and pouring rain all over the golden trees and pale, dormant fields. Beats of thunder are rumbling gently. We are sipping perfect coffee and watching old episode of Rifle Man. Sifting though Pinterest boards to really zero in on Thanksgiving projects. Enduring the occasional outburst from our acoustic-loving parrot. Every moment is so full. Pressed to the edges with life.
Okay. Turkey Day.
If you’re like me you like to look around and see what the experts are doing to prepare for the holidays. I have found a handful of really stellar posts that have sent my hostess soul absolutely into the stratosphere! Please check these out, if you haven’t already…
- King Arthur Flour offered a detailed outline of preparing the feast itself. Really detailed, practical, and customizable!
- Speaking of detailed, of course, there is the queen of step-by-step, Oklahoma’s very own Pioneer Woman. This post from 2008 is great. And it’s illustrated!
- Then the Nester wrote about hospitality and how she needed to offer it to herself first, to refill her well. Beautiful! Must read. I teared up a few times and craved a frothy coffee and decided that my newly emptied living room shall be decorated with all kinds of new texture. Go see for yourself.
- Possibly my most beloved blogger, Edie, wrote an equally beautiful but more colorful post on her Thanksgiving prep. She always shares both the how-to and the why, and that’s why I appreciate her so much. My favorite part? Her admonition to cup our hands on the faces of our loved ones, make eye contact, and tell them thank you.
What treasures have you found to read? What’s happening in your heart this Thanksgiving? I hope you can see your blessings clearly, up close, and with the heavy weight of gratitude that also lifts your burdens. I hope you too can enjoy swimming in the bright, salty, brackish waters of life.
Happy weekend, friends! Much love from the Lazy W.
God has two dwellings.
One in heaven and the other
in a meek and thankful heart.