Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Thankful + Broken = Real Life and Real Grace.

I look at my hands, covered in flour, the Avett Brothers playing in the back ground, and a small single tear slides down my cheek. I miss her. My grandma. She made the best pies. I’ve been feeling heavy hearted all day, remembering her. A minor cuss word slipped past my lips as I chatted on the phone with my mom today.  She told me I sounded like Gran. I look at my hands, starting to show the signs of age and I remember her own thin, elegant fingers as they are reflected in mine.  She is in so many places of my home and my heart and it seems her presence, or rather her absence,  is most palpable during the holidays for me. 

Everyone is putting on brave faces, posting thankful lists, mustering jolliness for the season, but my brokenness still streaks through the careful cracks in my soul that I try so hard to mask. I think of all the people I miss. All the ones that should be here, but they aren’t. Not just my Granny, but my dad, my uncles, Mark & Gus.; my cousin Daniel; Norse’s grandparents, Art & Lila, Marge & John. I think of the sweet friends who are mourning children who aren’t at the kids’ table this year, Jaron & Kimble, Keira, Hannah.  The list could go on. These losses have forever marred our hearts and broken us in ways that we will never recover fully.

In a season that pressures us to feel only thankful, it’s okay to be solemn. In our thankfulness, there can also be sorrow. While the memories we have remain, for that I am so very thankful, there is also hurt . I can’t remember anymore what my Dad’s voice sounded like or his laugh and I miss it.  While the pain of the grief fades, so does the crispness of the memories. Until something as silly as a Budweiser in a beer coozie reminds you of them and you smile. Sometimes in the thankfulness, there is brokenness. 

The tension remains. It will always remain, no matter the season. The tension of gratitude and joy intermixed with heartache and lament. For those of you navigating this season, in the depths of that tension, you have permission to feel. Keep your tender-heart. The world needs it now more than ever. Feel free to cry and fight to laugh. Smile at everyone you see and care for your soul when your smile has gotten lost.

For though I sometimes lose myself in the grief, it is this grief that has taught me to feel so deeply and love so fiercely.  For it is this constant heartache that I have that bears witness to how well those I’ve lost have loved me. For this, I will ever be grateful.

Happy Thanksgiving.   


  1. Beautifully said, Jes. My heart is especially heavy too around the holidays. The list of those I've loved and lost is long. This will be the first holiday without both of my parents. My heart is lightened when I think of those that remain. We will spend the day with the Lapeer family and I am grateful to still have a place with them. Thinking of you and your family truly lightens my heart. I love and miss you all dearly. Hugs to you all. I hope you have a blessed day. Happy Thanksgiving.

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