I really do attempt to make the week of Thanksgiving more than just a time of indulging all those foods I don’t dare prepare the rest of the year. I try to take time to reflect on the amazing gifts I’ve received the past year. This year, many of the gifts have come through hard fought battles of the heart.
Yesterday, Gary and I joined Evan (my son with autism) at his home for lunch of roast beef, dressing, cranberry sauce, and croutons (he loves croutons, but being gf, they are hard to come by); followed by cut-out sugar cookies and frosting piled high cupcakes. We really did enjoy one another’s company; and when Gary told Evan, “I love you”, Evan gave him prolonged eye contact. After dinner he sat in his chair quietly playing with his ropes, seeming very content. A little over a year ago, Evan was still so angry at this intruder into his life that things weren’t always pretty.
Two years ago Evan returned to church of his own choice after a 4 years absence due to his anger at God. Two weeks ago amidst cheers from his church family and friends, Evan was baptized of his own choice. It was beautiful watching him profess his faith in Jesus, and hearing his family respond with such boisterous love. Since that day, every time I ask if God did something special, Evan looks at me, smiles and says “yes”.
After his baptism, there was a peace about his features, and a sparkle in his eyes that wasn’t there prior. He was even able to look into the camera for the pictures – something that I don’t remember him ever being able to do. So his more than momentary gaze at Gary yesterday only confirmed God is doing something special. (Eye contact for those with autism can be difficult at best and painful at the worst, and over the years Evan has given little direct eye contact.)
Another hard fought battle has been for me to begin building a relationship with my two step-sons of 4 years. Both sons moved out this summer on their own, and the oldest and his girlfriend have been coming by regularly to do laundry and visit. Yesterday, they chose to join us for Thanksgiving Dinner. While David and Gary sat in the living room watching “Forrest Gump”, Holly and I enjoyed conversation in the kitchen while preparing the dinner of turkey, ham, southern style green beans with bacon, northern style dressing (I’m from Michigan while they are all from Kentucky), cranberry sauce, and creamed corn; topped off with pecan pie and candy (a family tradition in Gary’s family of corn flakes dipped in melted Hershey bars and piled into clumps of “candy” and hardened.)
Dinner was so pleasant, with general conversation about jobs and such throughout. When they left about 2 hours later, after rounds of hugs and “I love you’s”, I commented to Gary, “My bucket has been filled today!” And I thought, “Thank you, dear Jesus, for allowing me the courage, and endurance to wade through the pain, so I could see this time.”
Thank you also for indulging me in my revelry today!
With love and prayers,