Dear Wellspring Ohana,
This is the week our son Vincent died of liver cancer eight years ago. It’s also the week of Thanksgiving. And it’s the week Andre, our youngest son, turns five. It means that over the course of these next five days our family mourns and laments, eats and tries to be thankful, and then we celebrate a birthday. Sometimes we do all at once. (Those tend to be complicated and rather exhausting days.)
As much as I’d like to separate these things out—move Thanksgiving far away from Vincent’s anniversary of death, put Andre’s birthday in another month—I know that this is just what life is like in the Stringer household. And it’s not just like this for our family alone. For all of us, our special days, holidays, hard days, celebrations, anniversaries (both the happy and sad kind) come when they come, we don’t get to pick their arrival. Dan and I recently had dinner with one of our friends who’s grieving the loss of their partner who died on one of their children’s birthdays. I can’t even imagine what that might feel like.
What I do know is that our lives are a holy mash-up of both the sacred and the mundane, the good and the bad, the celebrations and the sorrows. We don’t get to pick what comes when, but we can choose what we do with it, whether we throw the whole hot mess against the wall, despair at it, or choose to dip our spoon in, eat it up, and perhaps even, with some choice seasonings, call it good. (Or OK. Sometimes life is just OK.)
As Thanksgiving approaches this week, what comes up for you? Is it a day just like all the rest or is it a nice break from the workweek? Is it a time of thankfulness, or family time, or perhaps a day where losses and disappointments are felt even more keenly? Is it a day of extra work, or a launching pad into the Christmas season? Or perhaps is it a little bit of everything?
This week I’m going to try and take each moment as it comes, knowing that the sum of all these moments is my life, a life that God creates to be “good.” In spite of what I’ve been through, I can say that I am thankful. This is how I am choosing to co-create my life with God in all the ways I can, the light bursting through the cracks. I know I’m not alone in this, because you are radiant, too.
With and for you in Christ’s love,