This week Raymond Pert told us he hoped all of our Thanksgivings had not been normal, and to share about an unusual Thanksgiving Day that we remember. Inland Empire Girl’s post is here, and Raymond Pert’s is here.
This assignment brought to mind one particular Thanksgiving when I learned to apply the following verse from Colossians 3:15-17.
“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
The year was 1996. It had been a rough year. My dad had been diagnosed with cancer at the beginning of May, and was told he had a month to live. He died one month later.
As Thanksgiving that year approached, The Princess was six, Z2 was two and Kiki Aru was one. And we were expecting another baby. We had decided we wanted four children, and we were a bit surprised, but excited that we were expecting another baby so soon after Kiki Aru's birth the year before.
The day before Thanksgiving, I had a checkup with my doctor. I was about three months along, and they were listening for a heartbeat. I could tell by the look on the technician’s face, and her body language, that something wasn’t quite right.
I was wheeled to another, more sensitive machine, to see if this machine could detect any heartbeat. Again, no such luck.
I was told to dress, and I called PKR at his school. He was in the midst of helping the staff and students at his school, Meridian Academy, prepare for their annual Thanksgiving feast. Through trembling voice and tears, I told him they couldn’t find heartbeat, and asked if he could come right away. He was there within half an hour.
In the meantime, I was checked into the hospital across the street, and I was scheduled to have a D and C that evening.
I remember my father-in-law being at the hospital, giving comfort and encouragement to both PKR and myself. The girls were at home with PKR’s mom I believe.
My memories of the next day, Thanksgiving Day, were lying on the couch at PKR’s parent’s house recovering from the previous day’s procedure, and grieving for the baby that was lost. I don’t know for sure, but I always think of this baby as a son, Kelly Michael. That would have been the baby’s name if it was a boy.
My thoughts that day also reflected on the Sunday School lesson that had been taught by CW that previous Sunday. His lesson focused on being thankful in all things. I learned being thankful was an action; a choice we make that also produces peace in our lives, which, again, is also a choice.
Through tragedy and grief, I learned that I could be thankful. I learned that, as a mere mortal, I do not know the whole picture. I love the illustration I was once told that I often think of as I ponder life. Life is like a tapestry, but all we see is the back side of this beautiful artwork, with all the end threads, and a mish mash of colors and strings. But God sees the finished product, the beautiful artwork from above…the big picture.
I don’t see the big picture. But I need to put my trust in the One who does. And be thankful in all things.
A few months later, I remember being in our kitchen in Meridian, and all three girls were sitting around the table, and I knew that this was to be our family…our three beautiful girls. There would be no more children. And that was okay. I was thankful and contented with this revelation.
SeenThatBefore over at Go Figure wrote about “The Lesson” in his recent blog post. The Lesson he wrote about is that “life isn’t fair”. No, it isn’t. But it is how we respond to the unfairness of life is the key to dealing with things that come our way that we are not expecting. Like the way the Whitworth coaches and players responded to their situation....with grace.
And another way is being thankful in all things. Even when it doesn’t make sense, or rips your heart out to do so. It isn’t easy. And it isn’t just a trivial Christian phrase I am throwing out. It is a life lesson that has brought me much peace.
Have a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving season.