Yep. I was right. It was insanely weird to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on the television after living in New York City for three months. Definitely strange. Maybe next year I’ll stay in the city for Thanksgiving and go to the parade. I would like to go at least once 🙂
But before I get into the festivities, I want to share something with you. This morning I had an “aha!” moment while doing my devotions. I’ve read Romans chapter 12 plenty of times, so many times that I’m actually running out of room in the margins of my Bible to make notes. Well, this morning, when my devotions took me there, I found this passage:
“For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them; if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.” Romans 12:4-8, ESV.
Wow! I felt like I had never read this before, though I had to have seen it in my many readings of this particular chapter. It’s all about, whether you’re a teacher, a CEO, a missionary, or a paper boy, do the best you can with what you have. In previous posts I’ve talked about how men and women have separates roles to play in order to make marriage work, to heal society. Women were made to be supporters, but this doesn’t make their roles any less important than the men’s role of protectors and providers. This concept is demonstrated here. Just because one Christian may be in a lower societal or occupational position, doesn’t make their roles any less important than those in higher positions. God wants His children to work together as a team, as brothers and sisters, as a battalion. We all have certain roles we have been given to play in order to further the gospel of Jesus Christ, in order to show the world there’s so much more to this life than feeling important, having nice things, and being successful. So no matter what position you’re in, whether you’re a stay-at-home mom, a banker, or a soldier, God uses anyone who is willing, and even those who aren’t. Remember that Moses was exiled and had a stutter, Matthew was a tax collector, Joseph was a carpenter, and Peter was a fisherman.
Mom and I made a huge breakfast this morning. She baked hash brown casserole and I baked caramel pecan rolls. We had eggs and toast and bacon (BACON!!!!) and sausage. It was nice to be surrounded by my family once again :). We watched the Macy’s Parade while making breakfast, and the one number from the musical, Kinky Boots, was performed. My mother exclaimed that there were children in the audience, that she couldn’t believe they would allow that in the parade. Honestly, I was kind of shocked too.
The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is an event I have looked forward to every year since I was very little. It had the Rockettes, the Pillsbury Dough Boy, Sonic the Hedgehog, and best of all, Santa Claus. The parade was always, innocent, fun, and totally family friendly. But this year…I’m beginning to wonder what planet I’m living on, what country I’m pledging my allegiance to. America, come on now.
After breakfast, while the parade continued, I continued to dig into my homework. I remember the words of my Critical Thinking & Writing professor: “I want to give you your assignments for the break, since you’ll have quite a few days to work on them.” Yes, because I wanted to take college home with me. No, I understand that my professor wants me to make the most of my time…I guess I’m just being whiney. The one assignment I’m actually really enjoying is the revision of my spiritual allegory. I’ve decided that instead of making the themes so obvious in a strange world between reality and fantasy, I am going completely fantasy. My first novel I ever wrote was fantasy, and it was absolutely atrocious. Really, I never want to read it again. So since then I’ve tried to stay away from fantasy. But now, as I write this story, I think I might be okay with writing it again 🙂
After a Skype session with our all-over-the-place relatives (an experience that brought me much joy), we headed over to my Aunt Joan’s house for the REAL Thanksgiving. I walked in and most of everyone was in the living room, watching football, while Tyler, Agnes (my younger cousin), and Aunt Joan were conversing in the kitchen. It was so great to see them 🙂
Some time later, after Tyler and I have shared many college stories, answered many questions, had a number of debates (all of which ended in both of us being right), we all sat down to eat. All of the adults (excluding me and Tyler) sat at one table and all of us kids sat at another. Aunt Joan prayed for the food and everybody began to pass everything around. Laughs and excited chatter circulated like the bowls of green beans and potatoes.
After a little while, when the supply of rolls at our (my, Stephen’s, Tyler’s, Jimmy’s, Agnes’s, and Gracie’s) table was low, Stephen asked if he could have another one. Remember Stephen’s condition: because of the state of his brain, he’s a tad bit socially awkward. Throughout the dinner, everyone just grabs food. But this particular time, Stephen asked. Aunt Joan apparently heard this comment and threw a roll up and over at our table. Tyler put his hand out towards my face, causing me to lean back in my chair, and caught the roll in the air. Agnes, in retaliation, threw a roll at the adult table and it landed in the gravy. Then, Grandma grabbed a roll and threw it between my parents and nailed Stephen in the back of the head. Laughing, Agnes and I grabbed the last two rolls in our basket, but Aunt Joan calmed everyone down (at least to the point where a food fight was no longer a major concern), and everyone began to laugh even harder.
The meal ends, dessert is brought out, and stomachs are full. There were a few hiccups during our time together, but all in all, it was wonderful. With everyone around, just being themselves, being annoyed with each other’s idiosyncrasies, laughing at each other’s corny jokes, and loving on each other like only my family can love, I was reminded of just how blessed I am. How many people can say their parents are still together? How many people can say that all of their family, one-hundred percent, completely supports them in anything they do in life? How many people can say that they’re loved by a great support system? From the brokenness I see, from the heart-wrenching stories I hear, from the casual disregard for family I witness, I would say I’m in the minority. My little Shire, the strength of my family, appears to be a very rare thing.
Everyone leaves except for me. I want to stay with my Aunt Joan and everyone for a little while longer. When I was in middle-school, my Aunt Joan was my best friend. I went through this nasty period when I thought my parents were evil, I had the worst life ever, and the world was ending. Yeah, ridiculous, I know. While things may have been a little rough, they really weren’t as complicated or terrible as I made them out to be. This was also before I realized how stabilizing of an effect God could have on my emotions, on my brain, on my life. During this time, my Aunt Joan didn’t treat me like the overdramatic rampaging hulk that I was. Nope; my Aunt Joan was a superhero. After I let God show me how much He loved me, I realized that part of His loving me was giving me my Aunt Joan, my Grandma, and my Mom. God is kind of awesome 🙂
I help put chairs and tables back where they belong and we all sit down for a few hands of Skip-Bo while listening to Charlie Daniels, Steve Earl, and other country singers. Meanwhile, outside, the snow comes down on the white earth around us and darkness deepens from a sun-lit holiday to a romantic fairytale. It’s all perfect. Tyler and I eventually grab more dessert, being teenagers and pigging out while looking at funny pictures and exchanging more stories.
The rest of the night went slowly; I eventually went home, began my homework, talked with my family, and thought. One thing, however, did totally blow my brain…my sister likes a boy.
My baby sister???? Am I really that old? Oh it’s unbearable! I don’t think I can go on!
I can’t even wrap my mind around this whole thing. I won’t go into detail, but I find myself playing fierce guardian when I know very well that, while it is my job to advise her as best as I can and to do my best to keep her accountable, it’s not up to me to govern her relationships, her dreams, her desires. I guess I just have this horrible fear that she’s going to go down the same road as I did. I just don’t want to see that. I don’t think I can handle it. But I guess it doesn’t matter if I can handle it, because God can, and He’s the only One who can really change her and stabilize her and love her the way she needs to be. I have many obligations to her as her sister, but the most important one is that I point her to Him.
But still…Gracie? Really?
Well, it was going to happen eventually.
I hope y’all had a great Thanksgiving 🙂 stay warm, stay smilin’, and stay thankful 🙂
“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His loves endures forever.” Psalm 118:1, NIV.