Happy Thanksgiving! We’ve just had a visit from Uncle Cam, who flew all the way from Calgary to spend the weekend with us. Despite a pretty drenching Saturday, I think we showed him a good time. (Insert shameless plug here for all that Nanaimo has to offer, for the consideration of any other friends or family thinking of coming out to visit.)
We adventured on the little harbour ferry over to the floating pub at Protection Island, which was cosy despite the downpour, and came back for games of Settlers and Risk, accompanied by lots of tea. Back in May we had bought an eighth of a local grass-fed steer from the Common Cupboard food co-op in Victoria, but have had trouble remembering to eat it. We eat vegetarian most nights now, for various reasons, but having guests is reason to feast! We didn’t realize the steaks were so giant until we got them out of the butcher paper. And giant steaks need giant knives, I guess?
The menfolk climbed Mount Benson together – apparently it’s not a great hike for ladies in their third trimester, so I stayed home with the Bean and napped. We all went to Cathedral Grove on Monday, to see the big trees. We hadn’t been there since last August, when little Bean was just a month old, so it was fun to go back and marvel at how much she’s grown since then. Last time she was a snuggly little bundle in the carrier, this time she was stomping around in her boots and signing for “bird” and “dog” whenever she saw or heard one. Our first Thanksgiving dinner was last night, with our pastor and his family. Bean sampled Uncle Cam’s pumpkin pie and whipped cream, and he couldn’t fill the fork again fast enough for her liking. More please! Our second dinner is tonight, a big potluck with all our neighbours. I’ve attempted apple pie, we’ll see how it turns out.
When I reflect on this last year, on how many people have opened their homes to us, on how God led us through the residency match to settle here in Nanaimo, on how blessed we’ve been by our daughter and second baby on the way – we are overwhelmed by things to give thanks for. I am often guilty of forgetting the gifts of God, for expecting things to go well for me, for thinking that this is what I deserve…and then, in gentle rebuke, I am reminded that this isn’t the case. Many are the instances when I realize that things could easily be so different but for these undeserved gifts. Gifts I cannot work for, guarantee, or control. To be thankful is a humbling posture for me, hands open, eyes looking to the giver of the gift, mouth opened in gratitude and praise. And amidst the family time, the feasting atmosphere, the moments of grace, there flows a rich, almost syrupy quality of being thankful. It is too much maybe, almost too thick to keep at the foremost of my heart every minute of the day, but in these scenes it suffuses naturally into the joining of hands, the sharing of hearts, the bowing of heads, the giving of thanks.