I’ve been struggling this week. I’ve been very introspective. It’s not really an usual state for me (but sharing it is). My dad’s birthday is later this week and I miss him. Grief is a complicated thing. It’s hurt and anger and fear and disappointment and pain and sweet memories and heavenly victory–all at once.
It feels sort of like your first sip of ice tea when you realize they forgot the “sweet”…and the heartburn from too many homemade cinnamon rolls that you’re still not gonna stop eating…and trying to work on your car without a 9/16th socket…and that moment at the end of Gladiator when Russell Crow dies…all rolled into that explosive moment when you see a deer run out in front of your car and know that you have no choices in the ending whatsoever…
So where does that leave me for Thankful on a Thursday?
I am thankful for prayer. I am thankful that in the deep, dark hours after midnight, when my mind is racing with horrible, dangerous, desperate, going-a-little-crazy, “what if” thoughts–I don’t ever have to be helpless. I can pray. I can always pray. I can pray for His help. I can pray for His protection. I can pray for His peace. I can re-count my daily blessings instead of sheep. And when all else fails, I can pray for morning. (This one hasn’t failed me yet!)
And I am thankful for memorized scripture and prayers. I know some people don’t appreciate the Catholic tradition of memorizing prayers, but before I disciplined myself to memorizing scriptures I’m blessed to have had something to fall back on when I couldn’t get my mind to settle down. There have been many nights I have lulled myself to sleep chanting “I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee…I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee...” (Joshua 1:5)
And I am thankful for home. My home growing up was an amazing, wonderful place to be. Leaving home–making my own home–was a constant battle of loyalties in my heart. Sure, I wanted my own home and and family, but I always felt like “home” was back home. I struggled to invest emotionally in our family’s home because I already had an emotional home. Our brand new, still-under-construction, smells-like-fresh-paint (figuratively as well as literally!) home was a constant disappointment in comparison. “Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it.” (Psalms 127:1)
I am thankful that I’ve found a new understand of the process of “building” a home. How to nurture that feeling of home, which is so much more than a place or structure. Maybe it’s because we’ve repainted some of those fresh white walls. Maybe it’s because we’ve scratched the smoothness off the floors and let some vines wrap around the porches. Maybe it’s because God pushed me out of my own comfy nest a few years ago and I’ve finally picked myself up out of a heap of broken feathers to try and build something equally pleasing for my husband and children. “Through wisdom is an house builded; and by understanding it is established: and by knowledge shall the chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant riches.” (Proverbs 24:3-4)
Or maybe it’s because if home is where your heart is, and a home divided against itself can not stand, then the only way to find peace is to lay your heart to rest in the Lord. I am thankful He knows what He’s doing.