There really is so much to be thankful for this day (and every day) but I chose to show my thankfulness in a different way this year. Let’s take a little stroll back down memory lane, shall we?…
This time last year was my very first Thanksgiving in my current home. I moved in at the beginning of November 2013 and 26 days later I managed to prepare a nice, filling and yummy (if I must say so myself) holiday meal for my children, myself and a few friends and family that stopped by. This year I wanted to start teaching my children the importance of helping others in need so I signed us up to volunteer at a local shelter.
Wow! I must say that I thought this would be a good experience for them but I now see how I grossly underestimated the impact that this would have not only on my children but also on myself and the people that we were going to serve.
You see, when we got to the shelter, early this afternoon, there were a few people sitting around, watching t.v., so my children and I proceeded to the kitchen to start making their Thanksgiving dinner. Some of the food was already prepared since there was another family who had already volunteered for the kitchen/cooking duties before I signed up. At any rate, we still got a chance to help with the meal prep. Not only did this give my older girls more practice with their cooking but it also gave my younger kiddos an opportunity to practice being helpful and careful in the kitchen.
After we finished preparing the Thanksgiving feast for the residents, we were told that we could go out and sit with the residents (or take a mini-break) since we had a little time before we were allowed to serve the food. So, I went out and sat in the “living room” and I told my children to go and find another child to talk to or play with for the time being. On Tuesday night, we had also put together some little gift bags for the residents. My children graciously handed those out before settling down with a group of kids that I would later find out they felt “drawn to”.
There was a family with a infant baby girl and 3 older children (close to my own children’s ages) and they were sitting at one of the tables waiting for us to begin serving the meal. All I could hear was laughter and the chatter of these children and my children. It definitely put a smile on my face because when we walked into the shelter it was almost like the life had been sucked out of the atmosphere. There was no talking, no laughter, no joy…
It was finally time to serve this meal so I went back into the kitchen and assisted with this. I figured my children were okay and better off continuing to keep their new little friends entertained for their exhausted mommy. Once everyone had come through the line, I got a plate and sat down with my children and the mom of the 3 children that my own children had sought out and started playing with earlier.
She eagerly welcomed me and we started talking. I found out more about her and her situation in less than an hour than I know about some of my closest friends to this day. She expressed some very deep things and it became quite clear to me that we should never judge a book by its cover.
As we spoke, I quickly learned that this was a very intelligent, caring and hardworking young woman who had just had a tough life and gone through some things that I would not wish on my worse enemy but she was still able to stand strong and keep a happy face for her kids, in the midst of everything.
She reminded me a lot of myself and I expressed that to her. I encouraged her to stay strong and that things would get better. She and I exchanged numbers and agreed that we would keep in touch which I have no doubt that we will. So, this day has definitely changed my view of life and hard times and given me so very much to be thankful for. It’s funny how things just end up happening when we least expect it.
What I’m thankful for is having 5 beautiful and healthy children. I’m also thankful for the friends, who have become more like family, that God has placed in my life. I am also very much thankful for ALL of the people that God places along my path every single day because each and every one of those people have changed me, in some way, throughout the years.
So, what are you thankful for this year? How do you show your thankfulness?
Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope each of you enjoy this day and find some time to reflect on the things that make life worth living. 🙂