Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Days of Thanksgiving

Just think, it's been over 375 years since the first Thanksgiving - the three day celebration held by the Pilgrims in 1621 to celebrate their landing and harvest. Interestingly, this celebration of landing, harvest and survival was not repeated by the Pilgrims. I guess they were too busy trying to survive and brave the New England weather!

Prior to the mid-1800s, the celebration we know as Thanksgiving had nothing to do with the Pilgrims or native Americans. This beloved American holiday grew, in fact, out of a traditional English holiday that celebrated family and community. The governor of each colony or state would declare a day of thanksgiving each autumn - so that folks could formally give thanks for general blessings. As the colonists spread west in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, they took their holiday with them, governors across the country proclaimed individual Thanksgivings, and families traveled back to their original homes for family reunions, church services and large meals.

Thanksgiving finally became an official US holiday via proclamation issued by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863. The proclamation declared the last Thursday in November as Thanksgiving Day. Finally, in 1942, President Roosevelt declared Thanksgiving to be the fourth Thursday in November and there it remains.

Interesting, isn't it, that we share such a need for thanksgiving, family, traditions and holidays? My brush with death has engendered a real passion for these things - even greater than the zeal I've always had for them, and I can't wait to bake the turkey and make the stuffing and celebrate with those so very dear to me! I want everything to be "as it always has been" - the ritual of our gathering and celebration as a symbol of caring, joy and perserverance and the continuity of family.

Like every family, we have the usual stresses and strains, irritations and charming eccentricities. I can't wait to revel in them all - the qualities and talents - the wonders that differentiate and make us each unique. Like the yin and the yang, they are both our weaknesses and our strengths. Divinely flawed, fully human, and possessed of extraordinary and ordinary talents, we gather and celebrate that we have endured and perservered, and yes, we thrive and we go on.

Celebrate the joy of life! Celebrate the wonder of family and friends!

I have so much to give thanks for and I shall shout it from the housetops!

Thank you all and may God bless you!

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Extraordinary Ordinary Days

In the church calendar, there is a long spell from Eastertide until Advent and it's called Ordinary Time. Easter is over and Advent/Christmas are a long ways off so there are few exciting festivals and celebration. As a good friend who loved Ordinary Time once noted, "let's face it, ordinary time is most of where we live". So true - we should savor and find all the little delights in ordinary time.

I write today with no real news at all. It's hard to believe I have completed about 3 months of fulltime work and so far, am keeping up! The support of so many has helped me and encouraged me and I am grateful.

Have patience with me, my friends! I can do so much now and it's great and I'm trying as hard as I can to get better, do it all and not let you down. Yet, there's so much more I wish I could do for you all and can't, and I hope you'll have patience with me and grant me grace as I keep on going and keep on trying to get stronger and wiser.

I was stunned to discover that it took me a good week to recover from the October 30 concert! I hurt everywhere and the tiredness was amazing. It's better now - yay - but wow! The holidays are coming and there will be lots of activities, special concerts to lead (!!) and so many things and people to see! I guess I'll just do the best I can and hope for the best. I suspect I'll be working and resting and that's about all I'll be able to do-and I sure hope I can do that. Forgive me and bear with me if I'm less than an attentive friend to you during this time. Selfish as it is to say, I need your friendship more than ever, so do let me hear from you if you can!!

My goal during the rest of 2005 is to keep up, learn to accept the crummy stuff, find the fun and keep overcoming the fear. I hope you can do the same as we all have problems, difficulties and fears. It's selfish of me to "wallow" in my own and allow them to control my actions - and yet it still happens at times! It sure has given me a sense of appreciation for folks who deal with trauma and difficulty all the time and I hope it has made me a kinder, gentler person.

Know others who have been through traumatic injury to themselves or loved ones? Remember to give them a hug and helping hand - the trauma for ALL lasts a lot longer than one might think. My poor family has sure been through it and I know they are still having the same flashbacks and fears that I do. You think you're past it and then out of nowhere, whack! But we ARE getting there and we WILL be better and stronger and kinder in the end! There is hope! There is joy and there is beauty! Let's all support each other and share the hope!