It's not an easy task to find yourself heading into the holidays
when there's little joy in your life.
It had been a bad year. One that would be remembered for the
loss of two loved ones. A year that saw financial despair and
Then there were the health issues. Not everyday concerns but
life threatening attacks.
Nothing, but nothing went right.
Still, the family gathered as always for the Thanksgiving Day
feast. They came from all around the country to share once more
in what was always a beautiful family tradition.
The setting was the same as always at Grandma's house. Aunt
Ester would bring her famous sweet potatoes. Uncle Joe would
play the piano in the great room. Mom would set the table
while Dad ... well Dad would watch football.
Aunts and Uncles, brothers and sisters would hug that warm
loving embrace that says it's been much too long.
Or would they?
"It's really not the same without her here," someone said.
Uncle Peter pretended not to hear it and continued on with
an almost believable smile on his face.
"Do you remember when George would tell that funny story
about his first Thanksgiving turkey?"
"It was really not that funny, but to hear George tell it.
You laughed because of him!"
There was an uneasy silence in the room.
"Time for dinner!" Grandma announced.
One by one each of them took their place at the table.
There was an awkward moment when they discovered the two
empty seats where they always sat.
"Maybe it's time for Sissy and Jack to move up to the big
table," someone said.
"Yes, come sit here next to me," Uncle Peter motioned.
"I could use some company right now."
"Okay, everyone bow your heads for Grace," Grandma told them.
"Lord, we are gathered here once again in thanks for all your
blessings. We are grateful to You for the bounty of this feast
and for the family we share it with. Amen."
It was now the tradition of this family to take the time to
share one thing they were each thankful for from the past year.
"Who would like to go first?" Grandma asked.
There was silence. An uncomfortable moment that most everyone
dreaded this year.
"Come, now. Who will start?"
Jack, now the youngest one there at the grown up table rose to
his feet and tried to slip away.
Jack had lost his mother just a few weeks earlier after a long
struggle with cancer.
"Jack, you have not asked to be excused," Grandma said sharply.
"Perhaps you would like to begin?"
Oh, this was a tough moment. Grandma deserved the respect of a
young man, but stirred in him a fire that only youth enjoy.
"Thanks? For what?" he said sharply.
"Thanks for taking my mom? Thanks for Uncle Dan losing his job
and having to sell his house? Thanks for the cancer that has
taken all too many lives?" he said with anger in his voice.
"Thanks for what?"
Most of the adults sat quietly with their heads lowered. Some
struggled to hold back tears. It was a difficult time and no
one there went unaffected by the loss and tragedies of this
Then suddenly a small voice could be heard.
"Thanks for the love."
Heads raised slowly. Looking around the room to see who had
spoken, you could hear the rattle of the dishes and the scraping
of the chairs against the floor as some repositioned themselves
to get a better look.
"Who said that?" Grandma said softly.
Nervously the young child raised his hand and could barely be
seen in the far corner of the room.
It was the children's table, occupied this year by only two.
The others had been promoted to fill the vacancies at the adult
"Jacob, please stand up," Grandma urged.
"Tell us again. What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving?"
"I am thankful for the love. You can lose a job. God can call
all of us home. What will always remain is the love. The love.
I'm thankful for the love."
The stillness in the room was unsettling.
"I'm thankful for you Jacob," someone said.
"Well, I'm thankful for ... ever having your mom in my life. Even
if only for such a brief time," Jack's father said.
"I'm thankful for the memories," someone else added.
"I'm thankful for the chance to start over with a new career,"
Uncle Dan said.
"I'm thankful for cranberry sauce!" the little child yelled out.
Everyone was laughing. Jack returned to his seat as he listened
to the others announce what they were thankful for.
"My golf score!"
"My new dress."
"My trip to the Grand Canyon last summer with our neighbors.
It was awesome!"
Finally it went full circle right back to Jack.
There was a sudden hush in the room as everyone waited to see if
he would join in.
Then looking up, with tears in his eyes Jack said, "Thanks for
being my Mom!"
Family rushed to his side and surrounding him they hugged,
kissed and held his hands.
"Let's eat!" Grandma said.
The young man in the corner whispered,
"See, God? Thanks for the love."
A special thanks to Bob Perks for use of his writings
May God Bless you abundantly my Brother-In-Christ.