Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thanks. Guest Post. Part 2.

Today's Thanks Challenge guest post comes courtesy of Jason. You can check out his weekly food column _ Windy City Cooking _ every Monday on Beach City Cooking.


Giving Thanks
27 November 2009

Driving on Weldon Spring Road to arrive at the house that was my family's home for the most formative 15 years of my life, I would, inevitably, drive past the back of Pam and Kevin's house.
I knew Pam and Kevin from our church. They were, and are, lovely people. They very best kind of people. Kind and gracious and giving. And, most important of all, caring.

Driving past Pam and Kevin's house during the last six weeks of the year was, and no doubt is, always a pleasure. The back of their house is mostly windows. And when the sun sets at five p.m., and the evening hours are darker than the summer dark the illumination of those windows stood out. And I could see from the road their magnificent tree. Simply, but elegantly, decorated, every time I passed. And there was one holiday season, I forget which, where I was at Pam and Kevin's home while she decorated the tree. I think Kevin and I were watching football or something. Still, thinking back it's a lovely memory, and comforting.

A Facebook exchange brought this memory flooding back a couple of days ago. And with it came all the memories- some joyful, some with regret, all with acceptance- of those formative years. And it got me thinking about the memory of Pam and Kevin's home in the context of gratitude and Thanksgiving.

I'm not thankful that I drove by their home and saw their tree. That's merely the tip of the icicle, as it were. But the water of that icicle was, and again, are, the people themselves. Pam and Kevin opened their home to me, and to us as a youth collective, time and time again. They were always around. Always willing to help us. Always willing to help me through a couple of really rough spots in those high school days. I am thankful I knew them then, and that technology allows me to know them now.

Noodles asked me if I would contribute a piece on thanksgiving for her blog this week. And when I contemplate what I am thankful for, time and time again it gets at one thing more often than any other: people. I'm thankful for the people that have touched my life and the people that continue to populate it.

It's more than just that people have touched my life, or influenced me, or guided me. It's that EXACTLY these people have touched my life, influenced me, and guided me. I think of the most important people in my life in terms of influence- and no doubt Pam and Kevin are right in that list, there are so many names to that list that it would be impossible to ever give them their just due in this column- and it's that they are all people of action, even if the action is as simple as opening the door and welcoming a 16 year old kid into one's home while decorating the tree.

When I think of those influential people, they have shown me more how to live in a thankful way by listening to me, and others, without judgment, without selfishness, and wanting to help, if any is even needed or asked beyond listening.

And so, I do the same. Or try. Am I grateful for all the things I have? Sure. I've been truly blessed with some amazing gifts over the years. They come in many forms- my bedspread that is now worn threadbare that my grandmother hand made; the Paul Auster that changed my literary thinking was a gift from my parents my senior year of high school- but those gifts of remembrance are few and far between. I am more thankful for having a life blessed by people who care, and listen, and help. And for those people, I give thanks.

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