When I was a young pastor in my twenties, a young man phoned me the Friday morning after Thanksgiving and he was furious. His whole family had gathered at Grandma’s for Thanksgiving dinner. They had enjoyed a feast together with four generations. And then Grandma took a nap while everyone went home to sleep off their turkey and fixins. And sometime in the late afternoon or evening, Grandma had died in her sleep.
What a great way to go.
She had just relished a fine dinner with her family and she had spent the day with her children, grandchildren, and great-children. And then she died without pain in her own bed.
Again – her grandson was furious. How could God take his grandmother on Thanksgiving weekend and ruin that holiday forever?
There are different ways of looking at life and it’s beyond looking at half-empty or half-full drinking glasses. There is often something deeply valuable in times of loss and discouragement. The grandmother who dies on Thanksgiving Day. The disappointing college admissions letter. The difficult diagnosis.
One of the gifts of aging is looking back to see the blessings that arose after loss. I’m not saying that God gives us loss to teach us lessons. I’m saying that God uses everything, including loss to bless us in some way.
The Japanese art of kintsugi involves repairing broken things with gold or silver so that the veins/cracked places shine. It reminds us that scars are evidence of healing. Scars are beautiful in that they remind us that the bleeding stopped, that the wound healed. Scars remind us to be thankful.
In the coming weeks as we celebrate holidays and gatherings and disappointments and losses, it’s a spiritual practice to see life through a lens of gratitude. May it be so.
Have a blessed Thanksgiving and First Sunday in Advent.
Image of a kintsugi bowl.