We were home for Thanksgiving this year – and good thing, since I spent most of the week sick, lying in bed. I had planned on connecting and creating with my children home for the holidays. I had planned on building a garden with Edward, and attending a musical downtown, and cooking a few nice meals. Instead I rested, and scrolled grumpily through people’s FaceBook postings about what they were grateful for, at a loss for what to write.
Owen was having a vegetative week himself, less communicative, less sparkly, and every bit as mulish and early-rising. I’ve said that I write these postings to share our life with Owen. I’ve said their purpose is to allow outsiders a peek into what it is that is subtly wonderful about a kind of person and a kind of situation that many regard with sadness or disgust. This implies that I feel grateful for Owen in my life.
But some days you’re more inspired than others.
As I lay on my bed, scrolling ungratefully through grateful postings of lists of gratefulness, the task of finding my voice this Thanksgiving week seemed harder for the public outpourings. A little public gratitude goes a long way, I thought. Even if I could find the right words, what use to throw them into the din? Perhaps it was just my prone position that made me sour.
Tomorrow my niece gets married to the young man that she adores. And Owen will be there, to generate inappropriate noises, and fidget, and generally bless the occasion with his presence. Nothing that he does in such a public setting is likely to be cute, or clever, or to provide any window into his inner Owen. But we who care for him know an angel lurks there under that unlikely exterior.
And as with the grain of sand and the oyster, the pearl generated is worth the irritation.
Is the oyster grateful?
P.S. I was extremely grateful for my bed. Also for my husband, a true partner in times of trial and a good cook.
I read your blog for a self-serving reason: I always get something out of it that supports being alive. Today you remind me how important it is to recognize distinctions while holding onto the bigger picture of process. The oyster, the pearl, the sand, each distinctly different, are all part of a process together. Insofar as I get identified with any part of the process too exclusively (or identify someone else exclusively as one part) I am dead in a downward spiral.
Thank you for reminding me that gratitude doesn’t belong to oysters or sand or pearls; and that sometimes the process (which belongs wholly to God) requires me to function as an oyster; sometimes as an irritant.
You remind me that in a kingdom of uses, the important effort is to function in the part from truths; not to try re-writing the process with me playing a more flattering part.