I was 26 years old, married for seven years and mother of two young children when my Dad moved to Heaven. Despite being grown and on my own when he died, I felt as though the world had been turned upside down. My family was changed forever. The home that once rang with laughter was now overshadowed by a cloud of sadness. I was walking around with a dad-sized hole in my heart, and the same was happening to my sister and mother.
After Dad’s death, I found myself becoming increasingly judgmental of my family members. Rather than opening up and sharing what I was feeling, I became angry and kept my heartache bottled up. Finally, I poured my heart out to the Lord. Through prayer and His Word, I found the peace and help I needed.
After receiving help from my Father, I set about to “find my place” within my family. I didn’t really know where I fit anymore. Thus, the game of comparing and criticizing those around me, especially those closest to me, began. By finding fault in others, I felt better myself. I felt as though I’d found my place again. I thought “I don’t do (whatever), so I’m good. I’m okay. I’m special because (whatever).” It’s a vicious cycle to get into, and a fierce competition. After all, there is always something to compare yourself to. A few examples: weight, intelligence, financial status/choices, opinions (on literally millions of topics), child rearing, and the list goes on and on.
This year, I decided to stop playing the “comparison game.” I decided that if I could find the negative, I could also find the positive if I wanted to. I chose to find the good this year and my Thanksgiving was so much sweeter. In years past, we would congregate at a restaurant on Thanksgiving and then go to my Aunt’s house to fellowship. This year, my wonderful Uncle Gary and Aunt Linda opened up their home to us and fed us the best Thanksgiving meal I’ve ever had. The fellowship was sweet, the food scrumptious and the best part was that my heart was wide open, soaking it all in.
It wasn’t the same without my Dad, and it never will be, but this has been the best Thanksgiving I’ve had since he died. In fact, I feel comforted knowing that a piece of him lives on in me forever. I know he’d be pleased to see that I’m continuing to stretch and grow spiritually. I have in no way “arrived”, but I’m on my way. I want to keep growing until I reach the shores of Heaven.
It was a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.