This year we hosted Thanksgiving at our place. It was the four of us, our friends the O’Neals and a little girl form the Youth Shelter that spent the day with us.
Kel has long harbored dreams of frying a turkey, I have long stood in the way of these dreams. I’m not a fan of deep frying, period, in fact I’ve never deep fried anything in my life.
If you gave me a fry daddy, I would probably give it away, mama don’t fry that.
Yet, after several reassurances that the oil would touch only the skin and the meat would be tender, not soggy, I agreed to the deep fried bird. Yet, it still bothers me, all that oil!
At 10:30 Thanksgiving morning Kel began to rig up the turkey fryer, only to realize that were short on peanut oil. So off to WalMart he went to procure a few more gallons of oil, gag.
Around 11:30 Kel came in to tell me that the oil was not heating up and if something didn’t change, we may not have turkey this year, we may have to figure out another feature protein.
AH NO! I’d been planning this day for weeks, we had company on our way, I took a big sip of my bloody mary and said something like: “No we’re having Turkey, you get out there and figure it out.”
Not very cute of me but it was Thanksgiving! There needed to be Turkey!
Finally when our friends arrived the boys decided that the old, loaner turkey fryer wasn’t cutting it so they went to WalMart (again) to drop $50 on a new fryer.
At this point I didn’t care about the money, we needed to get in there and cook that turkey, Stat!
Eventually Kel came in with a this golden brown bird on my largest platter and carved it up triumphantly.
Dinner was served and enjoyed with relish, cranberry relish.
The kids had a snack to hold them over while they watched Elf. No harm, no foul… except the obvious 17 lb fowl.
After dinner, the kids and Dads went outside to play soccer while Joely and I poured wine and sat down to make Christmas wreaths and chat about life. Mostly what’s broken with the foster care system actually. You know, typical thanksgiving banter.
Overall Thanksgiving was a tremendous success and I couldn’t have scripted a more beautiful day, even with the two trips to WalMart to save the bird.
Our Thanksgiving almost didn’t happen, turkey-wise, but there’s this whole other front on which Thanksgiving almost didn’t happen and that’s in my heart.
Lately I’ve been intensely focused on all that isn’t, all that we don’t have, all that’s broken and all the goals we have yet to meet.
The weight I’ve gained, the budget we’re not meeting, the sleep and writing time I’m not getting, the prayer time we’re not having, the books I’m not reading to the kids.. or about the kids… I could keep going…
All the cute little notes on the thanksgiving line above our bar were scribbled down half heartedly because I needed a good photo of thankfulness for a blog I was writing for.
The ugly truth it, I have a heart of ingratitude. Even when I bow my heart to pray, my list of blessings is rote, repetitive, my heart isn’t in it.
I know that we’re blessed, in my head, but I’ve allowed criticism to become the central focus on my heart.
I’ve acted ashamed of who we are as a family and what we’ve been given.
Sure you can come to our house, but it’s small, and I’m sorry about that.
Sorry about my kids, they don’t do chill very well.
Sure you can ride in our van, sorry about the mess and the dented fender.
Everything I have is seen through these ugly glasses of ingratitude that I’ve been playing off as suggestions or room for improvement.
I’ve been quick to point out all the blemishes and flaws, to turn our blessings into crap.
Yesterday, I was privileged to hear a message about gratitude by Pastor Steven Furtick and it shook me up inside.
Yet, shamefully, I was quick to forget his teaching as we drove away from church.
It took some pretty stern words from Kel and about 2 hours of hot tears to realize that I have a heart problem.
I lack gratitude. Somewhere along the line I developed a sense of entitlement and an ugly critical streak that is hurting my family and creating a massive block between God and me.
He’s right, this negativity, this glass half empty is killing our family’s hope, keeping us in a place of misery.
So, as the new Turkey Fryer saved our bird, so did this painful reminder save my Thanksgiving weekend, with only two hours to spare.
I’ve been knocked on my ass, convicted, laid bare. This morning I’m feeling deeply sorry with only a hint of steely resolve to change. Yet it’s growing, this change within me. I cannot remain the critical, glass half empty woman I have been.
Instead of point out room for improvement, I pray I learn to trust God to do the motivating.
Instead of complain, worry and spout black lies about the state of things I will beg Our Father to wash the mud from my eyes and see my life with a heart of thankful praise.
Today I meekly ask that he help me learn to live in a rhythm that sees all that is instead of all that isn’t or all that we don’t.
The critical, the negative, the snark, I think it’s killing us guys.
What about you? I pray that you’re on the other side of this heart problem that I have. Yet if you’re not, I pray God shakes us constantly until we learn a life of thankful praise.