Forgo the Fast Lane for a Seat at the Thanksgiving Table

“I am going to stop running through my life.” I said these words out loud in my walk-in closet where I sifted through the worn-out clothes and wished for replacements. The fall ritual of shifting the old season’s clothes to the back and bringing the new season to the front had left me wanting.

Other expenses would come first this year, and I would need to make do. Before I even started to grumble about that, I had a middle-age realization—every new season will bring the desire to set aside what I already have to pursue something new.

I visualized my 20-year chase toward the ideal without stopping to acknowledge and enjoy the gains. Another hour of housekeeping passed—during which I let go of the What Not to Wear logic for sorting—before I actually spoke those words that would become my verbal commitment to forgo the pursuit.

That might be the first time that an epiphany caused me to literally sit down with my thoughts instead of jump up to start implementing them. I did sit down, filled my usual half-empty glass with gratitude for a thousand little finds and poured it into the days ahead.

Still, my turning point was not complete. Another life lesson followed to test my new resolve. A sudden and unexpected accident sent my husband to the hospital with serious injuries, including a fracture in his back. His reaction—while he waited for the paramedics, in the emergency room and hospital bed, and at home healing—humbled me. His sense of humor and calm demeanor set people at ease and directed attention away from himself.

The fast-paced race going on outside our windows faded even further from view as we focused on the essentials of life and love. As a result, these days of crises unfolded into days of thanksgiving. I gave thanks for a family meal around his bed, thanks for the skilled nurses and doctors, thanks when he began to walk, thanks for the prayers and service offered, thanks for his pain that healed me.

Now, the actual Thanksgiving Day opens another season of rushing toward more, and I wonder, Will I be swept into the crush or forgo the pursuit for a seat at the table that is already set before me?

This is an entry in the November Write-Away Contest at Scribbit. She’s accepting entries on a Thanksgiving topic beginning with a letter F (mine is “FORGO the Fast Lane”) until November 19.

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4 Comments

  1. Michelle at Scribbit
    Nov 11, 2008

    “I did sit down, filled my usual half-empty glass with gratitude for a thousand little finds and poured it into the days ahead.” Very nice sentence first of all–

    And then I can identify with this, I’ve always been someone who looks forward, thinks about what’s coming or what to expect rather than enjoying what I have and it’s a constant struggle to remember the good things in front of me whether it’s my children and the phase they’re in right now or our careers or plans for anything.

    Love your writing.

  2. Mozi Esme's Mommy
    Nov 21, 2008

    Enjoying the moment… I have been focusing on this a lot lately – it’s so against my nature, but right now it’s the only way I can stay sane. Great post, and here’s to a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with enjoyment and thanks for the moments…

  3. An Ordinary Mom
    Nov 23, 2008

    I am constantly having to remind myself to now always hurry and to not always say that “h” word to my kids.

    “Come what may, and love it.” Your post reminds me of this fabulous talk by Elder Wirthlin.

    As always, thanks for all your words of wisdom. (It’s been awhile since I have checked my bloglines account … I had a lot of catching up to do on your site 🙂 !!)

  4. Daisy
    Nov 28, 2008

    I hope your husband is doing well. What a frightning experience as well as a life-changing one.

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