“Problems cannot be solved at the same level of awareness that created them.” – Albert Einstein

I actually love Thanksgiving.  Not really for the food part, but for the blessings part.  I know it sounds horribly corny, but I do much more reflection over the past year of my life on Thanksgiving than on New Year’s Eve.  The New Year is for looking forward.  Thanksgiving is for looking back.

Among the usual things I am grateful for this year (my husband (as always, on the top of the list), family, and friends), I am grateful for certain things that the events of the last year have taught me never to take for granted.

The greatest of my blessings is a given:

Harry in autumn

My son really is a miracle gift from God.  Daily he teaches me to take joy in simple pleasures, to slow down and smell the flowers (or squish the cookies, they taste the same after all the fun, don’t they?).  No matter how dismally every other aspect of my life is going, waking up to see one more glimpse of the person he is becoming has been worth the trip through life.  I have heard people tell of the sacrifices they have made for their children.  Me?  I haven’t noticed.  I am having too much fun.  Exactly one year ago, I was taking my son to my hometown to have him baptized in the same little church I was baptized in.  I was grateful to be able to make the trip, and that my pastor, in poor health, could perform this last ministry to my family before he retired.

I am grateful to have a home.  One year ago today, I was living in a tiny one-bedroom, fully furnished apartment with my rather large husband, a new baby, and a Jack Russell Terrier.  Nothing in it was my own.   I ate on somebody else’s dishes, slept on somebody else’s sheets, used someone else’s towels, and answered someone else’s phone.  And yet, last year at Thanksgiving, I was giving thanks that I was no longer living crammed in a friend’s guest room with the husband, baby and dog, or, God forbid, living in the room at the Motel 6 where I spent my 41st Birthday. 

I am grateful to have my own clothes, and the money to put food on my table.  This time last year, as we traveled to my hometown, we still did not know if our insurance would cover all of our losses.  We did not know if would be able to purchase a home we could afford to replace the one we had lost, now that we had on only one income.   We did not know if we could sell the remains of our property in Louisiana for enough to get out from under the mortgage on the house that we could no longer inhabit.  But we were grateful that, unlike so many of our neighbors, we were insured and we would likely be saved from financial ruin.  We were grateful that one of our jobs survived and we would not be jobless, as well as homeless.  We were grateful to have a new future we could look forward to.

I am grateful for human generosity, both of the hand and of the spirit.  Without good friends and benevolent strangers to fill in the gaps, we never would have made it.  Never.

I am grateful for the times I have spent with my family, who gathered around us one year ago, less than ten miles from where I was born, and told embarrassing stories of our childhood, and who welcomed my in-laws with open arms, laughter, and tables laden with food.  I will miss their presence this year, as I spend my holiday with my friends, my “family of addition” as we make new memories and trade stories less familiar.

I am grateful the oceans have spared us this year from the storms of last year, that the city I love has been granted one more reprieve to recover.  I am grateful that some who have left have found their way home again, and those who cannot have found shelter far away from the wind and the tide.

I am grateful for the beauty and vibrant color of autumn leaves and the smell of wood fires that I have always associated with fall, and which I have missed during my years on the Gulf Coast.  I am grateful that the great diaspora gave me at least that comfort.

And, perhaps most, I am grateful to my God, for hearing the prayers of a new mother, afraid and with an uncertain future, and holding me in the palm of his hand until the storm, and all its aftermath, had passed.  Thank you for answering faith with infinite blessings.



November 22nd, 2006 at 12:45 pm
3 Responses to “Providence”
  1. 1

    Sweet sweet post. You have covered all the important stuff beautifully. Thanks for sharing.

  2. 2
    Chris Says:

    What a beautiful post, what a gracious writer. Thank you for sharing that, and God Bless You going forward. Happy Thanksgiving to your family.

  3. 3
    Shiz Says:

    That was very beautiful. Be even more blessed!