When Your Heart is Full of Everything But Thanks
Is today one of those days today? When your heart is full of everything but thanks?
Today is one of those days for me. An obligatory holiday where some of my people gather around one another and I have to reach deep inside myself and slap on a plastic smile for a time. I haven’t always been this way. Historically, I have loved Thanksgiving, most passionately, although like most things, some years have been more magical than others. Thanksgiving is one of the purest holidays we have to celebrate.
It is the togetherness without the gifts, the food and football without the hours of slaving over more than one meal. Prepping for as long as you do it can cover the entirety of a whole day. You fix all the things you and yours love and you spend the remainder of the day (or in some cases the weekend) finding different ways to re-eat the same fixins’. Can you say turkey and mashed potato sandwich covered in gravy? Yes please!
Yet I know for some these kinds of days only re-slash already precarious wounds. Whether it is a death, divorce, loss of a dream or the all consuming presence of depression, for some of us, (more of us than will ever admit), the holidays are lackluster at best.
For me, the smell of merriment is not far off in my life. It is like a pie baking two houses down; I can smell it but I don’t know yet how to make my way to it. I can smell it if I inhale deeply enough, but then a sharp breath taken in too sharply also pierces my memories. It is these walks down memory lane that are a chocolate covered pretzel, but all you can taste is the salt. You still find yourself wishing for the chocolate.
Today, my father would have turned 69 years old. 69. It would have been a double celebration: turkey and birthday cake. Who doesn’t love those kinds of celebrations: two events only means a bigger party. We would’ve been joking about planning a 70 year celebration this next year. Today also marks the second Thanksgiving both my father and baby brother being in heaven. The year 2014 wrecked hell on my heart.
So obviously today still sucks. There are missing places at our table today. There always will be and I know I am not the only one who will look across the kitchen and know a huge piece of my life and heart is no longer present. We are making a turkey and being together, just like we always have, yet there are so many questions I have for God about the absolute aching hurt there is in this world. While there are always things to be thankful for, some days I struggle to give them names. For example, today is one of those days. You are not alone. I understand.
Are you angry today? You are not alone. Is the pain so raw the only four letter word you can use to describe the status of your heart is numb? I’ve been there. Is a sadness present that threatens to overwhelm the whole of who you are? Preach it friend. Are you stumbling through forgiveness for a spouse or a family member because of a hurt they have caused you? I get it.
If your heart is full of everything but thanks today, I want you to hear me: It is absolutely acceptable. The world may not understand, it may even try to pass judgement on you. Just know your feelings are validated because they are yours and nobody else’s and only Jesus and you know the current status of your heart.
This is my prayer for you and I both today and it is a simple one: that there is one genuine thing that makes you laugh today. Whether it is a joke told by a friend or a crazy family member, or video on the internet, the ridiculousness of your child or family member’s child eating their boogers at the table or just being able to laugh at yourself.
Laughter leads to a movement in your face, which can release the grip of ache on your heart
So here’s to laughing today.