18 Nov My Greatest Gratitude this Thanksgiving
“The greatest legacy one can pass on to one’s children and grandchildren is not money or other material things accumulated in one’s life, but rather a legacy of character and faith.” – Billy Graham
In just a few days you’ll be gathering with those you love and if your family is anything like mine, you’ll be eating WAY too much and enjoying a special time together.
I know, like many others, this time of year conjures up so many memories, sweet and poignant. There will be some missing at the table, but we’ll still see their faces in our mind’s eye as they are with us in spirit.
In my memories, I see my grandparents coming in the door of my house with a big cornucopia filled with nuts and dates and figs—their contribution to the Thanksgiving dinner. I think it helps the longing for times past to allow ourselves a moment to honor these memories.
So, I thought I’d share a few things I learned from my grandmother. In addition to Thanksgiving, it was also her birthday this week. She would have been 98! She’s been gone from earth for several years now, but she’s not far from me at any given time.
On her birthday, I walked over to my fridge to glance at my favorite picture of the two of us, but saw another picture—a bigger picture, one of legacy.
Months ago and quite randomly, after one of our craft sessions (we have lots of those) my granddaughter, Ezra and I proudly displayed our work of art on my fridge. In the busy-ness of our messy fun afternoon I hadn’t even noticed how the random placement would paint another picture…
But on the day when it would have been my grandmother’s 98th birthday, I glanced at this picture of my grandma and me, then my eyes drifted to another picture on the fridge, the art I created with Ezra. I smiled at the living legacy of her love and faith.
I was her first granddaughter. How beautiful to be able to continue this special bond with my first granddaughter!
One of the ways I knew she loved me was that she saw me.
We all want to be seen don’t we? I mean really seen. Not just for the stuff on the outside but for who we really are.
I remember once during a family holiday dinner at my house amidst all the chaos she came into the kitchen and said, “You make it look so easy, and I know it’s not easy.”
While others were laughing, talking, and eating, enjoying themselves just as I had hoped they would when I planned the menu and set the table, she saw me.
I remember getting phone calls from her every so often and she would say in the sweetest loving tone, “How’re doin’ darlin’? You take care of everyone else, but make sure you’re taking care of you, ok?”—she saw me.
Knowing I was watched for by her gave me a security that’s served me throughout the years. I want to watch for those in my care that way too. Legacy doesn’t have to be material things and you don’t have to have accomplished BIG things by the world’s standards to leave a beautiful, lasting and impactful legacy.
More important than money or material things, what she and my grandfather left for us was the faith they passed on. I can still hear the resonance of her organ as she played her favorite hymns. Though she wouldn’t be considered to be a faith thought-leader by this world’s celebrity-crazed standard, she certainly led me.
She never wrote a book but she imprinted faith on my heart.
Some of the hymns I learned sitting next to her on her organ bench, I carry with me today and they continue to bring hope and comfort when I need them. She typed out the words to one of her favorites and it still hangs inside the cupboard of our cottage in Maine.
I don’t worry o’er the future,
For I know what Jesus said.
And today I’ll walk beside Him,
For He knows what is ahead.
Many things about tomorrow
I don’t seem to understand
But I know who holds tomorrow
And I know who holds my hand.
My wish for you this Thanksgiving is for you to know you are seen and you are loved and the one who holds tomorrow holds your hand too.
We would love to hear about someone you love and the memories you hold close to your heart in the comments below. Sometimes it helps to type it out! Let’s begin this week sharing gratitude for the special people in our lives.
Grace and peace to you and yours!