Thanksgiving in the Next Chapter, the rest of the story

I gotta tell you that Thanksgiving in the Next Chapter is different!  I really was planning on making the green bean casserole and baking the pie on Wednesday.  I was!  But it didn’t happen.  And it was ok! Let me tell you how it went down.

Wednesday I did go to the Post Office and I did try to look the clerk in the eyes, but he wouldn’t have it.  I swear he is a cyborg.  Every time I go in he says the exact same thing, moves in the exact same fashion, and perfectly avoids all eye contact or casual conversation.  I did manage to say, “Have a great day!” I think his automatic response was “You, too.”

I did hit the gym — thirty minutes on the elliptical, a few reps on the weights, ten laps in the pool, a short sit in the jacuzzi, a run through the shower and I was on my way.

I drove through Starbucks en route to the grocery store thinking to myself, “Really? You planned all week to go to the grocery story on the day before Thanksgiving?”

My daughter joined me on the phone and walked with me round the store, up and down the aisles, back and forth as I remembered and forgot different items on my list.  I let others go ahead of me and intentionally moved slowly. I think I was there for almost two hours.

I got regular text updates from my other daughter as she made her way across the country to join us for the holiday.  And I did pray over and over that her trip would be safe.

And by the time I got home from the grocery, I didn’t even have the steam to unload. Bye-bye, pie.  Bye-bye, green bean casserole.

I did have the presence of mind to purchase a rotisserie chicken, some deli cheese, assorted crackers, and such, so that I wouldn’t have to make dinner, but I had to lie down and rest before I could even think about attempting to put out the spread.

My son carried in the groceries, and he did also vacuum.  No one dusted.  And, you know, I watched as the new Kristin was ok with all of this.  She sat in bed watching three episodes of Gilmore Girls.  She closed her eyes for a while.  When she felt she could, she rose out of bed and put out some food for supper.

After hugging, eating, and chatting, everyone slept.

On Thanksgiving morning, we all rolled leisurely out of bed.  I put the turkey in the oven and made the green bean casserole.  The stuffing was a group effort with three people contributing their expertise.  A daughter made cranberry sauce expertly and whisked gravy like an old pro.  A boyfriend owned the pumpkin pie.  A son mashed potatoes and set the table.  The husband did the heavy lifting and much of the pre-, during-, and after-dinner clean-up.  Everyone helped get the feast on the table. We all chatted and enjoyed one another. And ultimately, everyone was delightfully stuffed.

We had no schedule.  No pressure.  No disappointment.

I climbed in bed with a book around 6:30.  I read and rested for a few hours before I was finally ready for sleep.

For the forty-eight hours of Thanksgiving, I didn’t once rush, and it all went perfectly.  Why didn’t I figure this out twenty years ago?  Because I thought my soldier strategy was working just fine, thankyouverymuch.  Let me be clear here, my soldier strategy sucked. (Sorry, Mom — she hates when I say ‘sucked’.) This is one more lesson in process over product, journey over destination, being over doing.  I’m getting it, guys.  It’s taking a while, but I am getting the message.  I can be still and know that He is God.  I can rest in the palm of his hand.   And, it’s much better for everyone when I do.

Psalm 46:10

Be still and know that I am God

Luke 12:32

Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.

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