I read a comment not too long ago, perhaps here, perhaps at Stella’s place, about why we spend so much more time with family in the fall. Speculation was that we turn more to each other as we leave warm weather behind and come inside for the cold season to come. Whatever our reasons, we do seem to spend more family time together this time of year.
Thanksgiving will be here soon. It’s our family’s epic culinary adventure. We usually have a gathering of 40-50 people, extended family, some friends, occasionally someone brings an acquaintance who is away from home for the holiday.
We have the dinner at my brother’s and sister’s in law house out in the country. They have a large lot, and the past few years my SIL has had a bouncy house set up for the kids, which is great fun for them, and great for the adults too, as it really keeps them occupied while we are still in food stupor.
I can honestly say that I have never had better food anywhere than I do on Thanksgiving. I would say we go all out, and we kinda do, but the thing is, most of us just bring what we love to cook, and are good at. We never discuss the menu, we’ve got it down. Things may vary from year to year a little, but each of us knows what we are depended upon for.
We see family we might not have seen since last Thanksgiving. Lots of years we ooh over the newest baby in the clan. Two years ago it was Conner, only a few months after his heart surgery, his ribs still knitting together, and his mama on fierce alert, carefully showing those who wanted to hold him how he had to be held and protected. That’s Conner above, at Thanksgiving with the oldest member of our family, Aunt Ruby, who isn’t with us anymore. This year it will be my youngest grandson, Wyatt, at right, who will just have turned six months old, and is upholding the family cuteness and charisma gene. Also, he is clearly a genius.
This has been a tough year for us. Once again we will draw together and renew our strength, coming away stronger from the sharing. No little part of that comes from the prayer we start with, and the gratitude we express. No matter how tough things are, we each realize how very many blessings we have been given.
And so, I got led down a wandering path this morning, thinking of good times to come, as leaves fall and temperatures cool. Thinking also of family, and how fortunate we are to have those people around us, tied to us, who are always behind us, no matter how tough things get. In good times and bad. If you can’t count on people when the tough times come around, you don’t really have family, which is not always defined by blood.
Family means sharing, caring, easing the burden of someone burdened past their own ability to bear it, and thus, keeping the whole family afloat and healthy. Each and every one.
We don’t pick and choose, the picking to be done is in picking up the burden, sharing and caring. We don’t have to approve or disapprove of circumstances, choices, people, decisions. Sharing the burden doesn’t mean judgement, approval, or decision. It just means family.
This year, as always, we have seen that most worthwhile lesson again. In the end, family gathers. And God blesses them as they do so with hope and strength and faith to face another year, more struggles, more joys.
Together they are stronger.