n. a pseudo-traditional Thanksgiving celebration that is spent with friends instead of family.
I can’t say that Thanksgiving 2012 was the first time I spent the holiday away from my family, but it was the first that I had a hand in orchestrating it! Baby’s first since the college graduation! I can’t complain, either. The food was great and the company was even greater. I was asked to house and dog sit for the a couple nights, so what we did was move the celebration to that house instead.
Hand mashed potatoes, the first bird I ever roasted (!!!), mulled wine (glühwein), fresh bread with some kind of mustard/cheese/bacon gooey insides, corn casserole, and then…dessert. We had chocolate pie, pecan pie, pumpkin pie, and pumpkin spice cookies (ALL HOME MADE). I must say, I am friends with some pretty great cooks.
So in the midst of all the thankfulness of the holiday, there was something else reeling through my mind. I have so much to be thankful for right now. I have friends near and far that have been steady with me through the difficulties of graduation and everything that followed, I have a church that preaches God’s word and lives and breathes accordingly, I have not been without work (this is huge, I know!), I have made new friends, kept up with old ones, I have been challenged emotionally, grown spiritually…the thankfulness I have for things that happened yesterday alone astounds me! I was able to Skype with Rashad for a couple hours (after finally taming the bird), I had many hands help prepare the meal (as well as many to help clean up). I had the HBO channel to look forward to, I had good-humored friends to enjoy the holiday with, etc. etc. Even through God’s faithfulness, though, it is sometimes so hard to live and act with a thankful heart. I am guilty of this probably every day.
In these last six months, I have lost count of how many 30-somethings have said “My 20’s were great, but you couldn’t pay me to go back and do it again.” And when I was 15 years old, all those 30-somethings kept saying how lucky I was to not have to pay bills yet and how lucky I was to be young. So now I’m paying bills and I guess you could say I’m on the road to being a real adult (if I’m not already there). The long-awaited state of “adulthood” is upon me and I’m not sure I’m thankful for it quite yet. At least not all of it.
Youthfulness is equivalent to thankfulness in many ways. Anti-aging cremes, botox, slimming jeans, etc. Our culture is infatuated with preserving the idea of being young. But when you’re on the bridge from being young to growing old (what I would like to argue is the 20’s), how exactly are you supposed to exude thankfulness when all you have to look forward to is a life of paying bills (and student loans), stressful marriages, kids who make you wish you never had them, etc. I’m realizing more and more that I haven’t had as many role models for what it looks like to be middle-aged and be thankful. Or to be old and to be thankful. To be thankful for everything, every age, every stage.
Perhaps I’m over-thinking this. Regardless of that possibility, the fact remains – I was able to find just as many reasons yesterday to be un-thankful as I could come up with to be thankful about. How is that?! It is, as I can only assume, this thing called “creation groaning for redemption.” Rashad and I have talked a lot about the brokenness of relationships and how even that alone is enough to push people to say “this just isn’t the way it is supposed to be!”
Romans 8:19-21 says, “For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.”
So with all of the frustrations we face – whatever they may be – Thanksgiving has been a reminder to me that through all of the brokenness that this world has to offer, we have much to be thankful for in preparation of true Glory and the ultimate redemption. I am glad to celebrate the anticipation of eternal thankfulness and one-ness with my God.
And that’s why it’s easy to be a complainer. To be unhappy. To be ungrateful. But I guess Thanksgiving is just a foretaste of what is to come. And I’m okay with that.