Yes, it’s taken me a while to even get to the point where I could share what I was thinking at Thanksgiving but here it goes…
When you lose someone, every first thing without them is a very hard thing to swallow. The day or holiday starts to approach and as much as you try to put it aside it still lingers in your mind that you have to face it.
Thanksgiving is one of the Bodi favorite holidays that includes a lot of food and personal favorite dishes we each request from mom. This Thanksgiving was different because there was going to be one empty seat missing that’s been filled for 25 years.
I remember mom asking me one day at the office if we should do something different this year instead of what we always typically did. At first I thought “Yes!” But the more I thought about it I realized we would just be running away and it wouldn’t help the pain that was already there. We all decided to stay home and do things as we normally would and our Aunt would fly down to fill the extra seat that was missing.
The day before Thanksgiving I went for a run that morning and the only thing that was on my mind was Rachel. I was thinking of what it would be like sitting there without her, reliving everything through my mind, dealing with anger and as I turned the corner I came across this…
It literally stopped me in my tracks. I knew immediately it was there for me to laugh and remember to let it all go. That would be exactly something Rachel would do – put a smiley balloon in a random spot just for a giggle. Recurring things like this constantly remind me that it’s okay to laugh and to NOT worry.
After my run I stopped by this church that I once met an older man at that would bring his dog to everyday at 8am and 6pm at night. We would talk about things and he shared his stories of everywhere he’s been to his stories of serving in the navy years ago. When I stopped I saw him sitting there on the curb watching his dog with a huge smile on his face. As I walked up we both said “Happy Thanksgiving” and I sat by him on the curb. He turns to me and says, “You know what people get wrong about the day of Thanksgiving? They focus on how great things in life are going and the things they have in their life around them even to the extent of their fancy car sitting out in the garage. I just turned 78 and I can honestly tell you that the most important things in your life are the relationships in your life and your relationship with the Lord. Everything else fades away or life happens where bad things happen but you know that it’s all part of the plan we can’t see. So despite the bad, always be thankful for the people in your life that continue to lift you up on a daily basis. That’s what matters going through life while also trying to make sure you will see those loved ones again in heaven.”
I sat there as tears started to flow and knew he was exactly right but how did he know what I was thinking or what I was going through? Either way he said what I needed to hear and in a quick moment I remembered it everything was going to be okay. It hit me about the inner peace that I felt even at the funeral that day. It was a peace I can’t fully describe as if He was saying, “It’s okay and she is my hands now.”
God gives us peace, it’s a promise and a gift from the Holy Spirit. He gives us peace to overcome heartbreak, trauma, disaster, struggle, trials, anxiety and disappointment. As hard as it is for us to understand, He has already taken care of the situation so we will trust Him.
“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” John 14:27
Too many of us focus on what’s around us to give us peace and meaning in this world. Don’t let worldly “things” take place of where you find your happiness because you will be let down every single time. I say this to myself too but my friends, after going through Rachel’s things that she left behind I can honestly say that nothing in this world matters except being saved by the grace of God.
As I walked back to my place, I walked past a couple standing outside talking about their new car and how it was a prized possession that they now own. I cringe every time I hear that and I would give everything I own to have my sister back, selfishly of course even though I know she wouldn’t want to come back…
What am I trying to tell you? Simply this – this life is a vapor and we are only here for a very short time. Things are going to happen and fall apart all around you. Through trials, disappointment, suffering etc. give thanks because He’s already got the situation under control. He just wants you to trust Him. And believe me, I remind myself everyday of this too.
We took this photo on Thanksgiving day. We always take photos as a family and we just didn’t feel right about not including someone so this is what we came up with… Keep the faith.