In the mornings when the baby is still snoozing next to me, warm creature snuggled into the c shape of my body, I like to gaze out the window above me to the forest. The trees, still wrapped in the early blanket of gauze sway slowly, arms reaching upward, the last few leaves still clinging on. My toddler and I followed fox tracks in the fresh snow the other day, a mother and a baby, that led up the driveway and deep into the woods. I thought about that mother leading her baby, how she was just like me. Her little one deviated from the path a few times, went his own way, just like my toddler, but the mother was always close, always watching, always protecting. Our four sets of tracks were the same, hers and mine, her baby’s and my baby’s, leading up the driveway, across the lawn, and into the woods.
Early in the morning, when the secrets of dawn still linger, when the bright, sparkling light of the sun peeks through the trees and illuminates the glittering snow, when the sound of water boiling and the smell of coffee fills the house, these moments are full of promises. As my toddler stumbles out of bed, sleep still heavy on his face, the fire in the basement crackling and the sweet smell of burning pine wafting up the stairs, expectations have not yet even been created.
These moments are magic.
“Let the beauty of what you love be what you do. There are a thousand ways to kneel and kiss the earth.” (Rumi)
Tomorrow, we give thanks. I’m thankful for healthy, happy boys. A husband who sacrifices to give of himself for his wife and kids. For wind traveling through brittle, brown stalks that will bloom when spring makes her way around. For a warm house. For love. For wildflowers on the side of the highway. For bright stars in the sky.
The last six months have been turbulent for our family. We’ve been adjusting to a new baby, to a new house, to a new routine. We aren’t always as gracious with one another as we ought to be. But I’m thankful for these struggles because life is not just a series of happy events. We need to leave room in the margins for unexpected lessons to arise, lessons that sometimes hit like a freight train, ripping us apart so that we can be rebuilt. In the rebuilding, we become stronger, and if we choose joy – it’s there waiting.
In this season of giving thanks, I’m more thankful for the trials because they’ve made me a better person. I’m thankful for my kids, how they constantly challenge me to engage in their dance. I’m thankful for the utter joy that they bring to my life – sometimes joy so overwhelming and rich that I can’t help but hug them tight and let laughter bubble up from deep inside. Let the beauty of what you love be what you do.
What are you thankful for?