Bathed in gratitude….

Early morning gratefulness. The sun streaming through the windows. I face east, and the glory of the rays fill this space , and brilliant golden hope of impossible possible things lingers.

It is the day before Thanksgiving, and my cup overflows. It is almost embarrassing to smile this much . Maybe there is a need for a bigger cup for which to hold all of this joy except that the spilling forth is too good.

I missed my flight because I had looked at the arrival time, instead of the departure time. As my brother drove me to the airport he remained optimistic that I might still make the flight . He was kind and calm, and I appreciated his quiet and confident demeanor so much.

He dropped me off at the departure area, and I headed inside, feeling cautiously optimistic, and not harried as one often does when the potential for a missed flight looms before you.

As I pulled my roll along suitcases behind me, I headed towards the United Airlines gate. When I tried to sign in at the automated computer it spit out a ticket instructing me to see the gate agent at customer service. It also posted on the screen that I was too late checking in. I had a feeling .

I don’t like being late. It stresses me out. That, and being lost . I generally err on the side of way too early. I was somewhat amazed that I wasn’t stressed this day . A good kind of feeling. I waited in line behind a few other sojourners, that looked frazzled. I met the eyes of a gentleman by the counter, we smiled, shook our heads from side to side, and did some eye rolling. The waiting in line bit that nobody ever enjoys. Especially this line. Respect for the people who are behind the counter, because nobody is ever in a good mood or pleased to be here because they missed their plane. This is their job, dealing with sour pusses all day, and hoping to

“turn their frowns right side up.”

I knew this lateness was all my fault. When it was my turn at the desk, the agent searched for alternative flights that day. I watched as her eyes scanned the screen. Her long false black eyelashes blinking nervously. She informed me that the flights appeared to be filled up for the rest of the day . She then asked me if I was willing to take the next straight through flight the next day ? I said,

” yes, that seems like the best plan. “

I readily fell on my sword, and explained to her that this mishap had been entirely my fault. She had a great attitude. She smiled in understanding. How many times does she hear that throughout her day? She booked my flight the following day, and I was not charged extra. That’s some grace right there I’m telling ya.

I decided that I didn’t want to call my bro back and have him return to pick me up . I didn’t trust myself to not do the same thing again the next day .

I went and grabbed a cup of coffee, and sat up at the bar which faced international arrivals. I then searched for accommodations to stay overnight near the airport. I decided today was the perfect opportunity to use my accumulated Mariott Hotel points. I found a spot close by that offered shuttle service to and from the airport. Perfect .

It was only 9:00 am, so I had a bit of a wait time before I could check in.

It felt good to know I had found something suitable, and familiar where I could relax and lay my head down. I’ve done a lot of hotel stays in these last few years. This hotel honestly feels like a strange second home to me . After my house flooded in Ontario, I stayed in this hotel chain for months, and when I was caregiving for my Mum in the last stages of her life, I stayed in this same hotel, but I’m a different city. Living out of a suitcase almost feels normal now… except not.

My eyes were drawn to a young East Indian woman( I’m not sure I described her nationality correctly, just guessing…). She held a bouquet of red roses, and her lips were painted that same shade of ruby. Her eyes were framed by black eyeliner, and her long black tresses were held in a elastic holder, and loose waves clung to her back, and went all the way down to her buttocks. She was dressed in a traditional sari, glittered with gold embellishments. It was a creamy color, so the contrast of red roses and lips against her lovely olive skin was dramatic.

She was conversing with a young man beside her. There was a sense of joy filled expectancy in the air . I was mesmerized by them . I couldn’t understand a word I was overhearing, but it didn’t matter, I could read their body language and gestures.

I was struck by a thought after just having attended a ” celebration of life service,” for a woman who had ovarian cancer . This scene reminded me of the gateway to heaven . I pictured myself as already being there in heaven and just waiting and watching for my loved ones to join me. For us all to be reunited together. Perhaps because I was sitting watching at international arrivals, and many different nationalities continually emerged, that these thoughts were filtering through. It was a tantalizing thought process.

When I was able to check into my hotel , at 10:30 am, when does that happen, the delightful man behind the counter them gave me a chocolate bar . I know …what? I think I am in heaven . I decided right then and there, that I was going to take a nice hot bubble bath, and yup, you guessed it, I would eat the chocolate bar while in the tub. If you have not yet tried this decadent combo, I highly encourage you to do so. A heavenly combo .. I bet there is chocolate in heaven .

Every time the double panel glasses doors opened and more passengers spilled out, their eyes searched for their people. We wait for our people. When we are fortunate enough to be there to greet them when they arrive from far away, there is no greater feeling. Tears can be involved…happy ones. To never be parted again, and to never to have to say goodbye is the dream .

Joyful expectation of meals prepared, and shared with one another, memories talked about, and stating out loud about what we are thankful for. A heart filled with thanksgiving is a contented heart. There will be pain, there will be suffering, but there will be all of the other happy nuances shared together that when they are founded in community, and family and mutual love and respect make all the difference.

It is Thanksgiving here in America today, and as I repeatedly state, my cup overflows. It has taken some grueling steps to get to this point, but today I share a day with my sons. Logan and Allison, and Zach and I will gather to prepare, and cook, and feast. Right here today for me is redemption. There were times in these last seven years that I did not know if this would ever be possible . We will reminisce about those who are absent from our makeshift table that is actually just a counter, of days gone by, and celebrations of the past , that are well… in the past, but there will be new gratitude that stems from the opportunities and the choices to forgive, to pick yourself up, and to love more again and again. Grateful for many answered prayers.

We have today, just now to savor it all . I’m taking a snapshot continually, so that I will actively imprint these dear ones upon my heart muscle, and will hold them close and never take these times for granted.

Happy Thanksgiving to friends and family. You are loved. If we are not all together because of distance, and time, you are in our hearts , today and forever. Whatever comes next only God knows, but today we remember to pause and reflect, and give thanks for our many blessings, and ponder how to impart good on our individual worlds. One person can make a difference. Never think your voice and your story doesn’t matter. It does, it will. Find someone to share it with . Our story is our victory dance, may we never forget to overcome. It is worth it, but it will never be easy.

Snap shot of my sons

Let there be pumpkin pie … ( I found this photo on Instagram and thought it was brilliantly creative..)

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