A Thanksgiving Blessing~ I had been feeling a bit overwhelmed with some truly difficult things I am dealing with in my life. The weekend before Thanksgiving, with all the work ahead to host the usual large Thanksgiving dinner, even while I struggled with these troubles, I just felt unutterably weary and overwhelmed. So I slipped away from the chores and the lists and the planning and the shopping ... and the worries ... and took a few moments to walk the gardens. This is where I often retreat from the daily grind, the fresh air and growing things, the open sky and murmuring breeze tend to slow down and quieten my racing, troubled thoughts. A few moments of brisk, fist-pumping walking, and I could feel the tension begin to drain away, and my steps gradually slowed until I finally came to a stop along a shady path. Only then did I lift my eyes from the ground in front of me and scanned the sky above. And then I unburdened my heart to God, that I just can’t do all this by myself, such dreadful things facing my loved ones that I felt powerless to do anything about, and in the midst of this trouble so many things to do to get ready for Thanksgiving dinner, so many people counting on me, it made my heart turn over and I felt so weak I would have gladly let my body slump down onto a bench had there been one nearby. I would love to report that I was suddenly endowed with some superhuman strength, or a host of angels came to help with the tasks ... but I wasn't, and they didn't. But, after lingering a while, bowing my head in defeat one moment and scanning the heavens in hope another, pouring out my heart of all my troubles, I gave it all up, left everything right there, in His hands, because it was all just too much for me, and after a while I did feel better.
The troubles and all those tasks were still waiting my time and attention back at the house. But I took a bit longer and my hectic march was now a more leisurely stroll, wending my thoughtful way through the gardens, aware now of the profusion of cheerful blooms lining the way. I knew that I only had to practice what the Lord had taught me, but it seems so easily forgotten ... that when I'm feeling overwhelmed, to just "do this one thing," and when it's done, do the next one thing, and one by one, gradually, all the tasks would get done, and I would be blessed with a day of feasting and fellowship with family and friends.
It never ceases to amaze me how pouring out my troubles to God, sharing my burdens, makes them so much lighter, so I did return to the house strengthened and calm, and rather than dreading Thanksgiving, a holiday I particularly love, I was once more looking forward to seeing my table filled with people I love, enjoying special dishes I prepared, chatting and laughing, reminiscing about Thanksgivings past, and creating new memories for the future, with the added blessing of grandchildren in the mix! And after a wonderful dinner with copious amounts of food, many dishes brought by family and guests to add to our groaning table, with guests arriving and leaving throughout the afternoon, the day too quickly drew to a close, I packed up left-overs for my children, and everyone lingered over hugs and kisses and goodbyes.
As I began the task of gathering and stacking up the unending piles of dirty dishes and packing up and storing away the rest of the left-overs, one of my Thanksgiving guests stayed behind and stood at my kitchen sink for over two hours, carefully hand-washing and drying all those seemingly unending stacks of dirty dishes. And as we laughed and chatted, all that work swiftly passed.
What a blessing this good woman was to me (shout out to Sandy!), and how I appreciated her thoughtfulness and her cheerful company. And what a boon to my weary spirit! That the Lord took notice of and understood even better than I did ... that it’s not always the mountain that we need help moving … sometimes what we need is just help with the dishes.