Thanksgiving landed on the calendar quite late this year. Today marked the final day of the Thanksgiving holiday even as it also marked the first Sunday in Advent.
I was born the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, nearly a month too early. My lungs were not ready so I spent my first days in an incubator connected to oxygen, IV’s and monitors. The first pages of my baby book hold images from a dismantled poster and these words pasted on the inside cover: “To all our dear brothers and sisters in Christ – Here is the MIRACLE you prayed for over Thanksgiving.”
Friends rallied around my parents and the night before Thanksgiving service at my parent’s church was redesigned as a prayer meeting on my behalf. I’ve heard that friends even fasted and prayed in place of their traditional Thanksgiving meal.
Mine is a story about medical resources & skill, and my tiny body’s ability to respond. But I think more, it is a story about community. And Presence.
I survived those fragile days. Turns out it’s not my only story that went like that. But I know these are but a drop in an ocean of stories.
And sometimes there is no miracle.
I don’t understand this and I desperately wish I could guard against it.
But I think there’s something significant embedded in this story. Something I do see and understand. I was born into a community. People gathered in and walked alongside my parents in those late November-early December days. This is the story as it’s been told to me. As it’s still told to me.
My sometimes dark and frustrating journey through this broken world is lit by my bank of stories like this. Sometimes thankless, sometimes endless. I’m just saying….it matters that you come alongside people in their pain and their fear and their grief. It matters that you ask questions and listen to their stories again. Your presence creates space for God’s Presence. It lights the way. This much I know.