The extras we are thankful God sent to our table,

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Thanksgiving is a day but it is also a word that means give thanks for everything and everyone.

I am not only thankful for my family but the “family” not related but know who are, and trust they can come and be accepted, loved, laugh, cry and be exactly who they are, warts and all, and not be judged.

Yesterday, Thanksgiving, I was honored to have not only my amazing large exuberant loud family, but others who I feel like family and trust they can come in grief and sorrow, in loss, in rejection, and be loved and not expected to be anything but “RAW”.

They know who they are.  The young wife with two babies whose husband left, with her mom who has struggled through her own life and I am sure was totally in shock at the thought and experience of the Thompson family.  She didn’t leave, and although looked a bit shell shocked from time to time, did converse in the end.  Young wife had a blast, was gracious to ex when he showed with the children, and overall felt like she did not have to pretend.  RAW!

The next were precious friends who lost a husband and a dad, suddenly, and couldn’t face putting on a pretense for anyone.  They all were here together last year, and to come back and know their loved one’s spirit was here with us was hard, but they knew no matter what emotions they came with, they would be accepted.   We let them take the lead on that.

My grieving friends laughed, ate, talked, cried, remembered and were glad they came.  The were accepted just where they were, RAW.

Then there was the young man who lost his father too early, had led a troubled life, and has no real family as his mother is on the streets.  He came, ate heartily, sat by the fire pit with the others, was accepted, in spite of his past (not too good) and stayed until the end.  He felt accepted.  He came RAW, not expecting but spilled his heart to amazing hubby at midnight while we were cleaning up.  Not only up for being RAW, but feeling accepted enough to do that.

And just when we thought most were gone was the young mother of two who lives in an extended stay motel.  She knows my daughter through work and has not always done the right thing by a vulnerable teenager with her own issues.  But, she found herself at a church because she was desperate and invited the vulnerable teenager.  God at work.

It turns out they could not remember their last home cooked meal, and the children were enthralled with my piano which I taught them to revere, hold gently in their fingers and not bang, but love.  Their eyes were shining, their minds were open and hearts receptive.

They ate, they played my piano that I have had since I was seventeen, and their eyes were not just shining, they were hopeful, trusting and grateful.  And then the sad part.

There were a few, too vulnerable and not able to trust, who committed but couldn’t come.  Too RAW!.  They have built walls, large ones, that prevent happiness, love, and the biggest thing, being able to give out of themselves more than having to be stroked, cajoled and making others feel  responsible for their feelings.  The saddest and the hardest to help because they will not help themselves.

I hate that these miss the love, the family that is available, but that is the wall they choose to hide behind, the love they choose to miss, and all we can do when they are adults is love them and let them be. Allow them to be who they are and love them unconditionally without letting them own us and make us enter their sad world.  We pray and hope they can find their own path to happiness through loving God more than loving where they are.

But my own, my family, my twelve plus grands.  You are awesome, you accept, you love, you do not judge, you just roll with what happens and who comes.  You are my heart, and you give out of my heart and your own to those who need our love.  I’m blessed by you.

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BELIEVE IN

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