Friday, December 4, 2015

Thankful in all circumstances

Now that three kids are gone from the house it seems like holidays are becoming more and more precious. This Thanksgiving Thomas, Rose and Nora loaded up and we headed to Central Texas to spend the long weekend with my folks. My mom picked up Patrick and Maggie from their dorms. We all settled in to their house after dark. A quick supper was had and then we moved toward dishes clean up.

Wouldn't you know it? The kitchen sink water refused to drain. My parents did some preliminary work on unstopping the pipes and we all went to bed, figuring that by morning it would be resolved and we could then move on to Thanksgiving prep.

A couple of weeks ago I made a list in my journal of birthday wishes. One of them was for the kids and me to have a holiday season full of contentment, love, peace and joy. I didn't think about that wish very much afterward, just sent it off into prayer land and moved on.

Fast forward to Thanksgiving. My dad did all the typical things one does to try to unstop kitchen drains for a couple of hours. Then he and Patrick went down to the crawl space and tackled the pipes down there. My folks live near the lake on a rocky hillside. The water is full of minerals. Apparently the minerals had been building up on the inside of the pipes, like clogged arteries! They worked and worked, and the rest of us set aside our expectations.

It was drizzly and somewhat balmy. We took our coffee outside and visited on the covered deck. We ate spelt cinnamon rolls and quiche brought from the bakery. My sister and I took a couple of long walks and caught up. At some point I guess I saw the kitchen filled with dirty dishes from the day before and figured we better come up with a contingency plan for the day.

We grabbed big plastic tubs, began to heat water, and carried out dishes to the deck where they were washed in hot sudsy water. There was laughter. It was a novelty. It completely threw our holiday off balance and as a result, we relaxed, and just rolled with the flow. After the dishes were done, we brought out all the vegetables. Thomas chopped potatoes to make his famous mashed potatoes. Maggie convinced me to make a vegetable stock so our dressing could be made vegetarian. Patrick made his cranberry jello dish. Rose and Nora worked on bread and cornbread that Maggie made for the dressing. I made a giant tray of roasted root vegetables. Daddy put on the turkey. We eliminated several other traditional veggie dishes and the homemade potato rolls. The ersatz plumbers continued to labor on, Daddy, Patrick and my sister.

After the pleasant, atypical day, we sat around the table, thankful, full of yummy food, and content. we had one of the most unusual and pleasant family Thanksgivings we had enjoyed in a long time. I was happy to wash up the dishes and pots and pans out on the deck, dark and drizzly, sound of rain gently falling on the tin roof over head. About the time the dishes were nearly finished, the pipes began to drain again! Hurrah!

The next morning I felt a little frazzled from all the socializing and work. Some of the kids joined me on the deck for silent breathing meditation. Their first time to sit still and not do anything, just breathe, maybe ever. The combined spirit of peace and calm was a gift to me. Later, I walked in on Maggie and Patrick doing yoga in the dining room. They were so graceful and beautiful! They asked if I wished to join them, so I had to say yes. My first experience with yoga. It was really hard. They were great teachers. When I told them that it not only hurt, it was boring, they laughed at me, and asked me if I thought being still for fifteen minutes might be considered painful and boring!

We had a lovely time spent together with family. Not everyone could be there, and they were missed. We all agreed that the slightly uncomfortable circumstances through us off kilter enough that we were able to be present with each other in a way we hadn't before.

We were content. The house was filled with love, peace and joy. And fun stories, and laughter, and only teeny moments of snippiness that were quickly covered by grace.

I am so thankful for my family. I wonder what circumstances will lead to our joyful content Christmas???


Anonymous said...


paul s said...

Well written narrative.