Seems like as good a holiday as any. So many things to be thankful for - currently for this home and fireplace (I hear driving rain outside and it may actually be sleet), for faith and family and friends. For quiet time and time full of kids' voices (and instruments). So much to be thankful for.
We made the trip South to Atlanta this year. Usually we would have been visiting (great) Uncle Frank the week before to mark his birthday but having said our final goodbyes and sent him on to heaven, we decided Uncle Frank Jr. and Aunt Janet would be a good choice. We would be able to be with family and to remember, not only our dear uncle but also our mother/grandmother who passed three years earlier on the 29th.
We left shortly after noon and settled into our Louisville Drury Inn right around dinnertime. Have you been to Drury Inn? Free breakfast AND dinner (every day!). I admit dinner was a bit lacking this time around (no lettuce at all due to the recall) but we made due and had a good night's sleep. Breakfast more than made up for it and we were grateful to meet Jose, our server, who happened to be celebrating his birthday that very day - on Thanksgiving!
We like to go to Mass on Thanksgiving and, being away from home, we had to just pick one and let the Holy Spirit do the work. I ended up finding St. Benedict's (Benedictines are always a good choice) in Lebanon Junction, Kentucky. This town and this church...so many happy memories of my days in small-town Kentucky. The fact that it was on the opposite side of the state made no difference. Catholics are a bit rare in the state generally so if you can find a country church, you can be sure it's filled with faithful, helpful, lovely people. (like the sacristan who walked me outside, to the basement entrance of the social hall to unlock it so that I could make a bathroom stop)
St. Benedict's was definitely a hidden gem and we were blessed to begin our Thanksgiving among such people. The priest, who was recently appointed pastor of that parish and neighboring St. Aloysius' (my favorite name!) was actually brought to tears as he told the story of his journey from what he thought he wanted to what God had planned for him as pastor there. He said it all came clear as he prayed the Joyful Mysteries and reflected on the Annunciation. He remarked that if Mary could say "yes" with all the uncertainty of her call, why couldn't he? His "yes" has brought about many rewards in his life - more than he could have imagined. What a wonderful beginning to our day.
|This is St. Benedict's - all 30 pews. Father asked that people stay after to change out the hymnals and everyone did just that!|
|One chatting, one working.|
|He was very interested in his uncle's techniques|
|Carving the bird.|
|brief musical interlude|
|Working with auntie to open the kid wine|
|Let the feast begin!|
There is something to be said to reclaiming family time. We are all so busy with our own lives...it's difficult to carve out a space to make time for things that should be important - that used to be important. It was a bit painful when our four-hour, bi-yearly visit with my side of the family ended and my son asked, "Is this the way it will be when we get older?" I suppose that's all up to you and your siblings my child. I hope that them being together most of the time on most days will make them remember it fondly and look for opportunities to gather together.
In the meantime, it's a New Year in the Church - time to let go of all the things that have kept us from Him who deserves all of our time. Yes, we still have to lead our lives but what if starting this year, we made it first and foremost about Him? I bet, if you make it your resolution, you can somehow make whatever you are doing at any given moment over the next year focus back to God...by thanking Him for His blessings, gifts, challenges, losses, trials, loves and just everything. Give it a try.
We are blessed.