Friday, November 28, 2014

Thanksgiving Day 2014

It was nearing sunset as we drove through one tiny borough after another, on our way "home." Thanksgiving Day, and for the second year in a row my truck was stacked to the headliner with baby gear and clothing. But that's about where the similarities end.

I'd begun bracing for impact shortly before Halloween last year; I could see the situation deteriorating. For over a month I had denied, prayed, hoped, fixed -- by Thanksgiving it was done. All our son had worked for throughout the final days of summer was gone, and the grief was almost too much to bear. Those early days documented on social media -- the pride he took in his new truck, his goofy "driving hat," the ribbings he would give to "Murph" for being a Ford man. And those last days etched in my mind -- his inability to even hold a cigarette, the homelessness and turmoil he seemed to embrace. The future seemed to be cemented in hopelessness and yet, wildly uncertain. I had no plan, no solution, and certainly no vision for what was to come, but I was doing what I'd done time after time -- trying to restore order to the chaos that flooded the lives of people who love him. Even trying to gather back some of the pieces that had scattered upon impact as if, once the dust settled, he could use them to rebuild somehow. Sometimes I think it's that working to repair that helps us cope and sets us on the road to believing things will one day be livable again -- that, and lots of tears, and lots of prayers. And hope. I always have hope; I know I belong to the God of Hope. But what about my son? Where is my hope for him? Where does he find hope for himself?

Fast forward to Thanksgiving Day 2014. Our son is waiting at home for his fiancĂ© and I to return with her things. He is beginning a new life, and seems to understand that some days are just blocks on the calendar -- work, sleep, do it again tomorrow; that the rush that comes with buying a new car, or having a baby, or starting a new job, happens only every now and again. That most days we must simply "be." But those are the days upon which a life is built, bridges to those monumental days. Days that test our meddle, that make us who we are, and point us in the right direction toward milestone days. And if we fail to establish who we are on all of those typical calendar days, like an addict, we will crave and do just about anything to experience the freedom and euphoria of wilder days, days of celebration and butterflies in our stomachs, simply to mask where we fall short on those nine-to-five days. If we fail to find happiness and hope as we run the gauntlet of day-after-days, we become nothing more than quasars, burning ourselves out as we run at full tilt for the duration of our short lives.

Even as I celebrate the remarkable contrasts between our life last year and our life today, I'm still not sure from what well our son draws his hope. But I do know where I draw mine, and I do know that it is the God of Hope that painted the sunset we drove toward on this Thanksgiving Day.

Post a Comment