Yesterday, was another Thanksgiving Day. A day where families and friends would gather together to give thanks for the blessings within their lives, and for me… yesterday was a day I will forever remember.
My first Thanksgiving without my children allowed me to reflect on all the years past. From my first Thanksgiving turkey that I cooked, where I forgot to defrost the turkey, to the Thanksgiving Day massacre, where my dogs killed all my neighbors chickens. Many years that reflected the good moments of our lives to the difficult, and as I was putting my turkey in the oven I had to smile. It somehow brought me comfort knowing that millions of people were doing the same thing I was. They were getting ready to feed those they loved.
When my children were young, we had no money, and one Thanksgiving I wanted to do something that would be everlasting, so I grabbed a white sheet out of my linen closet, gathered my children and had them outline their handprints into a turkey and then write what they were thankful for that year. When Thanksgiving was over, I washed it, placed it in a box for safe keeping, and then each year following I would pull the tablecloth from the box and place it on the table. The other day I happened to find the tablecloth, and I smiled. Over 15 years of grateful hands had made the white linen visible. Filled with nothing more than grateful hearts.
Then I found something that my son had written. It was from 2003. Glenn had joined the Marines and was able to come home for Thanksgiving, but we knew that the following year he would be in Iraq. As our family sat around the table there was a silence that fell over our tablecloth. While we were trying to enjoy our meal, there was a part of me that wanted to savor each word he said, as if the reality of the year to follow seemed to weigh heavy on my heart.
This is what he wrote: What’s up fam— It was a great Thanksgiving in 2003. My first year away in the USMC has been exciting. I’m thankful I was able to make it home. Next year turkey in Iraq. ~ Glenn
Of course my eyes filled with tears as I read those words, and within a moment I was reminded of the parents who have children serving my country today. The ones who are so far from home eating their turkey, and remembering their Thanksgivings of yesteryear.
Not wanting to forget those, I put a call out on-line that if anyone had a child who was serving to please send me their name and I would add it to my tablecloth. I was happy when the names started to arrive.
Sgt. Adam Garrison, HN Garrison, Master Gunnery Sgt. Ron Rowe, Cheri Rowe, Sgt. Nathan Anderson, Jessica Anderson, Capt. David John Blossom II, Valentine Alberto Beltran, Nick, Allen, Justin, Kevin, Adam, Donald, Teresa’s son, Michael Beggs, Sgt. Matt, Tyler Knight, AJ, Jenna, Jacob, Jill’s son, Cody Cathcart, Dustyn, Cody, Tyler, Sgt. Travis Farber, Zak, Mark, Kent, Justin, Capt. Brian, and SSgt. Ben Harrelson.
In the afternoon my daughter’s friend, Katy, came over so she could have Thanksgiving with us. Her parents were in Northern California and she couldn’t make it home, so I felt blessed when she arrived. She noticed that I was gathering names, and asked what the names were for, and when I told her she immediately grabbed a blue pen and started tracing her hand on the tablecloth so we could make a turkey, and within each turkey we penned the name of the person who was serving our country. When we had finished it was such a visual to see how simple it is to remember those who at times, seemed forgotten.
I would like to personally thank the parents of those who took the time to send me their child’s name, and also share their heart. AMERICA… whether we agree with war or not, we have to agree that there is no greater love in the world than a parent who is missing their child, and there is no greater sacrifice than a child who is serving the sufferings of others so that those they love can have the freedom of freedom!
During my life I’ve been trying to find peace on earth, and because I couldn’t find it, is why I became such a follower of Christ. It’s within these moments where I understand God having to let His child (Jesus) go and sacrifice his life for others. Those who serve others are filled with a love that is so profoundly strong, that you can only understand it, if you’ve been able to love another person no matter what the outcome of the love brings. Love is not about what other people can do for you… It’s about what you can do for other people.
We are now a month away from Christmas, and my Christmas wish is that each person thinks of another person they know who has a child… a brother… a loved one… who is serving our country so we can have the freedom to celebrate Christmas, and my wish is that everyone will remember them. In the simplicity of love, what Jesus has taught me is within in His death the only thing He asked for was to be remembered, and I believe the families of those who have loved ones who are serving are simply asking for the same thing…
TO BE REMEMBERED!
At the bottom of this blog is a space that simple reads: COMMENT.
Please add a name of someone you know who has served, is serving or will serve, and promise me that this Christmas you will REMEMBER THEM!
Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Luke 23:42
It’s because of those who serve that I am able to go ONWARD BY FAITH!