Tuesday, November 24, 2015

And Maybe the Worst Thanksgiving Ever

To quote Arashi again:
Sadness and joy, all of it is precious.

We can't know joy unless we've known sorrow, too.  So, inevitably, thinking about the best of something, you also have to remember the worst.

My quirky, amusing, difficult four member family was surprisingly insular.  We just didn't socialize much.  And we preferred holidays generally to be just the four of us, and there was sometimes a good deal of resentment when we had guests.  After my grandmother died, it was the three of us.  After my stepfather died, it was the two of us.  After my mother died, there was no one but me.  Sadly, because we hadn't been social and because people, understandably,  didn't understand about how my odd health problems make some things very difficult for me that others take for granted for themselves, no one really noticed how very isolated I was.

On the first Thanksgiving alone, I was invited by some friends for a meal but they were dealing with a terminal illness in their family so it wouldn't have been a comfortable visit in any case.  But it was after I left their home that things got really bad.

I was pet-sitting for someone who was often out of town for weeks or even months at a time, so I went to her home to take care of her cats and walk her dog three times a day, every day.  It just so happened that she was gone for the holiday weekend, so after I left my friends' house I went to walk the dog.  

4 PM Thanksgiving day.  
A quiet street in a nice family neighborhood.  
Cars lined up in front of every house.  
It was a fairly warm day, so everyone had their doors and windows open.

I could smell the wonderful aroma of everyone's meal as the dog and I walked past.  
I could hear the laughter and people talking.  
Every house was bright and full and festive and busy.  

No one knew that I was out in the street.  
And no one cared.
There was no one left to welcome me home.
It's not home if there's no one there.

It wasn't the holiday traditions that I missed because I never had that anyway.  It was mattering to someone, and I didn't matter to anyone anymore.  That was hard.

So in recent years, I've become a Thanksgiving Stray.  Kind people invite me to join in with their family and friends.  I am grateful, and I'm learning a lot about the traditions others have for the day, although I don't really have any of my own to share.  Even though I'm trying to learn how to fit in with the rest of the world, somehow I still often feel that I'm on the wrong side of the screen door of life, peering in at those on the inside.

Sadness and joy, all of it is precious.

God is good.  And I plan to be happy on Thanksgiving just because I can (after all, my family taught me to how to roll with the punches and enjoy the ride) and because, truly, I am grateful for my life and for all those kind people in it.

No comments:

Post a Comment