Thankfulness and Absence

I told my wife this morning its worse at night. It being the stuffy nose and sore throat that have decided to take up residence in my body for the last couple of days. I did wake up feeling like dog shit and I use that phrase intentionally because as I walked into the kitchen to brew some coffee I stepped in beagle shit. Jack our Beagle has pulled this stunt twice now in two weeks and me being the early bird, well, I got the worm. But I’m back in bed now, foot washed, and my wife and I both have our laptops open, side by side. That may not sound so romantic but it is. In the realm of possible scenarios we could both be absentmindedly smoking Pall Malls that might catch the bed on fire or fighting over some unresolved offense from the day before, but we’re not, we’re working on our ‘puters and its quiet save for the click, click, click of our long-married fingers on the keys and the train rumbling by outside. Its really quite sweet.

So I’m slouching toward Thanksgiving a little under the weather, as opposed to how I usually am, which I guess is over the weather. Last night my son said Dad, you’re never sick. He’s right, and I’m thankful for that. And that’s really the deal, isn’t it? You can practice gratitude every day, and I try to do that, but deep-down-in-your-boots-thankfulness really rears its head in the absence of something, something you’ve taken for granted. Taken for granted is not the best phrase to use, maybe something you’re accustomed to, yeah, I like that better. Old George Bailey was a good man, grateful for each new day, but it wasn’t until all that was taken away in his winter-dream and Mary was a spinster at the library and Harry Bailey was cold and dead in the ground and Mr. Potter ruled from his mean, dark throne that George was truly thankful for his waking life, his wonderful life. 

I cry every time I see one of those reunions, the ones where a man or woman serving in harm’s way gets to come home and she or he is reunited with sons and daughters and spouses at the airport. Those people always hug and hang on tight. Its beautiful, and I think now those folks are thankful. Someone those family members were accustomed to having around was gone for awhile but now they’re back, safe, home for the time being. About the only thing you can do in moments like that is whisper thank you. Those words really mean something because of the absence.

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7 Comments

  1. hisfirefly on November 27, 2013 at 2:05 pm

    holy hush here
    worship in the worst of it all
    and a heart thankful even in the mess
    you have blessed me

  2. Julie Olson on November 27, 2013 at 2:52 pm

    Oregano essential oil, 3 drops in a teaspoon of olive oil. IT tastes like SH** but it burns the crud right out of a person. Taken at the onset–you don’t get sick. Have done it for years, it’s a charm.

  3. Gwen Acres on November 27, 2013 at 3:44 pm

    I long to create like John and “his firefly” but my offering of “absence makes the heart grow fonder” must suffice. 🙂 Thank you for all the wonderful images that in turn ignite my thoughts.
    Hope you feel better soon. Turkey soup might help? Happy Thanksgiving from Canada!

  4. Heather Eure on November 27, 2013 at 4:51 pm

    These eyes welled-up with tears. Yep. I know what you mean.

  5. Diana Trautwein on November 30, 2013 at 2:00 am

    It’s good to be thankful for the everyday right smack dab in the middle of every day, I think. Sometimes hard to remember that, maybe especially when the runny nose, sore throat and dog shit happen – but still. Thanks for these good words, and all those you’ve offered over this last year. (and more).

  6. Jeff Milam on December 24, 2013 at 9:05 pm

    Hello Sir. I somehow stumbled upon your blog recently. I typed your name in a search engine after seeing that you helped Brennan Manning write his biography. He was truly one of my favorites. Anyway, I enjoyed this post on “thankfulness.” It is something I struggle with even though there is so much to be thankful for. It’s a Wonderful Life has always been one of my favorite stories. It’s amazing and humbling how it speaks to me year after year. It reminds me to be thankful for the life God chose for me. God bless.

    • thebeautifuldue on December 25, 2013 at 6:33 pm

      Thanks for writing, Jeff. I struggle with it too…its a worthy struggle.

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