Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Giving Thanks - Family

Thanksgiving is upon us. Next week.

I've been thinking about the blessings that I have received this past year--and for that matter during all of my life in an effort to better grasp how I take blessings for granted and despite my best efforts, I continue to receive blessings that I neither deserve nor have earned.

I have the usual list--family, friends, job, home, health, peace, pets, and love. And as the Apostle Paul would say, not the least of these is love.

But--I thought I might like to dig a bit deeper into each of these areas to discern the real blessings and not just the superficial, pass it off kind of acknowledgement that I usually do when confronted with truly deep issues.

Superficial is easy, and non-threatening. I have been thinking about some of these blessings and I have come to realize that they are not superficial. It is I who am superficial in so many things that I do. I am afraid to engage and to offer the best of myself to the situation.

Family. I have the best family in the world. They put up with me even when I would rather be somewhere else. (Like Key West) I love them. I wonder whether I deserve them. But, Sundays around the TV watching four different football games reminds me that we are a family and we are all better because of it.

But family is more than watching football games together. Family is the way we look out for each other and overlook our shortcomings to find the inner beauty in each of us. It is the unconditional smile of a grandson (since I haven't any granddaughters, it is OK to write it this way) when I arrive or when we communicate via the new Facetime technology. Family is saying, we've got your dog when we head out for a long weekend.

Family supports when one of us is down and thrives when we are all together. And family is larger than just the cluster of people living in Maryland--but it includes far flung brothers and sisters and parents and cousins and nieces and nephews scattered across America.

And I am stronger because of all of them. We get together all too infrequently.

But they are a blessing and I am thankful for them.

What is the real blessing of family?

The real blessing of family is that I never fear being alone in this world. In family, I have others with whom I am walking beside, or leading, or walking behind--but joined arm-in-arm as we make our way through the world. Although we are not all walking the same path, we are walking together, and we are stronger for it.

I am not alone--there are others with whom I can share my joys and sorrows, successes and failures, and just sit together sipping a glass of wine or a beer and enoy being--even if we are not talking, we are.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

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