This Week at Trinity, Beamsville
Friday, October 9, 2020
This week I’ve been working hard to get my head around Thanksgiving. I realize that’s true for most, if not all of you, too. I know that you know that thanks giving is not a difficult concept. It is necessary, life changing, and life giving. It is a faithful, core practice for followers of Jesus. Check and check. It is also true that the capitalized Thanksgiving, as the annual autumn celebration, feels anything but practiced right now, without our usual gatherings and social ways. For me, this beloved weekend is still that, but it also feels foreign, and partial, and at times a bit out of place.
Because you all have come to know my heart quite well, and because you’ve heard me say this is the first Thanksgiving we won’t have our Eric home from Montreal, many of you have asked, kindly and compassionately, how I’m managing. My most honest answer has been and still is, “I’m okay.” I’m disappointed, but I’m okay. I’m not okay with the circumstances that are rather unceremoniously keeping us apart, but there had to come a time when his adult life would have him elsewhere. Maybe that’s a feeble rationalization, but it’s where I am, nonetheless. I’m also mindful that countless other parents can’t see their children this weekend. Many never do. And so yes, I miss him terribly already. We all do, but there is just so much beyond our control these days.
I’m sure you can see where I’m trying to go with this – and that is in pursuit of the truth that even when my heart feels achy, and probably a bit pouty, I have to hold it in check with the ebb and flow of life as a whole, not to mention other lives all around us. I’m not denying myself sadness when it comes, but I am remembering all the good that continues to be. I’m also holding in prayer, and standing in compassionate (figurative) presence with those who are wrestling with deep and searing change. My emotions about this weekend are real, but their scope just isn’t the same as those who mourn death, cope with illness, struggle with profound loss, and suffer seemingly endless forms of oppression. So many, many folks around the world, and right in our communal backyard, are in the most trying times of their lives… and still they persevere.
It is exactly that kind of strength, contextualization, and reorientation that we’ll encounter this Sunday in Deuteronomy. It is an ancient account of our faith ancestors, with a powerful undercurrent of the present. I don’t want to over-simplify the text, nor do I want to over-complicate, but it is both layered and obvious, and impeccably timed for our hearing. God knows it is exactly the kind of perspective I need, so that I, too will persevere.
I’m so grateful for you, and that you’re here to process it all with me. I’m so grateful for the faith, the community, and the holy Love holding us all together, always.
With year-long gratitude for you all,
“So what if a bowl slid off a shelf?” (‘Breaking the Blue Bowl’ by Jeanne Murray Walker
in Pilgrim, You Find the Path by Walking: Poems)