It’s Thanksgiving week! And for a great majority of us that means a shortened work schedule, 24 hours of unashamed gluttony, and 10 hours of NFL football.
Oh, and of course, a day of pristine, highly anticipated, conflict-free interaction with all those extended family members!
- The outspoken political junky that leans to the opposite aisle of everyone else in the family (and loves to remind you why).
- The hypochondriac that divulges every detail of awkward medical conditions between fork-fulls of cranberries and stuffing.
- The one-upsman who is bound and determined to outdo any accomplishment tabled for celebration.
- Insert your favorite caricature here _______________.
While some of us can’t wait to share pumpkin pie with Aunt Frieda and Cousin Charlie, I also know (because I’ve talked to you) there is a high percentage of the population who is welcoming the Holidays with a homemade cocktail of antacids and nitro tablets. But even if your irritating, dysfunctional, or broken relationships aren’t branches on the family tree, let’s face it – we all have a few of them. Some of us quite a few.
And that’s why this Thanksgiving has given me pause.
A few days ago, we received one of those “audible gasp” text messages that a dear friend had unexpectedly passed away. The wife of my former boss who had also served as my assistant for a few years. Tonight, as my wife and I plan to host our first family Thanksgiving, her husband and daughters are planning a funeral. It’s hard to even type.
In that one grievous moment, everything snapped into perspective.
The petty issues that drive us apart, the convictions we refuse to back down on, the denominational affiliations, structures, arguments, insults, betrayals, irritations, and hurt feelings we just can’t seem to let go of, all seem to (at least momentarily) melt into a puddle of “remind me what were we so upset about again?”
Maybe I’m losing my edge, but in moments like these it just seems like life is way too short to focus on the things that separate us. That irritate us. That offend us. Maybe it’s time to lighten up. To let go of some things we’ve been hanging onto for way too long. To learn some patience. To exercise humility. I don’t know. Maybe?
“Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.” -Ephesians 4:2 NLT
Wherever you are, whatever you’re wrestling with, Happy Thanksgiving. To you, your crazy Uncle Walter, your irritating sister-in-law Sue, and even those squirly little nieces who will probably break something important to you while they’re screwing around unsupervised in your basement.
Let’s do our best to love them all well this week, to let go of the less important things that keep us apart. At least for the Holidays, and maybe eventually even the every-days.
If you pray, stop right now and ask God to be with the Delp family this week. They’re saying an incredibly difficult goodbye to a beautiful wife and mother.