This year's Thanksgiving was spent with my in-laws. Their celebration is a far cry from a crowded house, buffet style animal eating, paper plates, and card tables. With a smaller crew, we all fit around one table (my first time not at a kid's table was after I got married!), and we get to use real silverware! The nice kind, even! My mother-in-law, Beth, worked herself crazy for 24 hours straight to prepare the most ridiculously delicious spread. I was all like CHEESE! WINE! MEATBALLS! POTATOES! SWEET POTATOES! AHHHH! everywhere I looked. I particularly get spoiled with the first two in that list at my in-laws' home.
When we were all sitting around the table, the food coma almost starting to kick in, my father-in-law directed the conversation to a Round Table. He asked 3 questions of the table, and each person took turns responding. I thought they were very thoughtful.
1. What are you thankful for this year?
2. What are some goals you have for this year?
3. If you could change anything about yourself or the world, what would it be?
The goals for this year ranged from hilarious (Nanny, Brian's grandma, simply blurted: "Survive!") to practical (Beth wants to be healthier, as if she isn't already putting us all to shame with her paleo lifestyle) to heartfelt (Ed wants to be aware of God's grace each day, particularly by always setting aside devotional time).
Earlier in the day, I chatted with my dad and got some group texts from my immediate family about the Packers (don't even pretend you weren't weeping when Bart Starr and Brett Favre hugged before the game), saying thanks for each other, and sharing pictures of crazy indulgent Thanksgiving spreads.
How is this my life? How is all this mine? I haven't really unraveled just how blessed I am. I just was overwhelmed with the people in my life yesterday. People who are open, kind, thankful for each other, generous, funny, and intentional with these days and milestones in life. Of course each year, as we switch between families, one of us will miss being home, but when you have such wonderful in-laws, it's got to be the next best thing. The coolest thing is that we are home no matter which family we're present with on each holiday. Brian's a son in my family, and I'm a daughter in his.
I shared my answers at the table, so here are my 3 responses.
1. What are you thankful for this year? First, for Brian. For being a fantastic husband, being a great buddy to spend all the mundane and exciting and frustrating and happy days with. For supporting me and making me think. I also said my fantastic parents and siblings. I know a lot of people with horribly hurtful families, and of course we are not perfect, but I could not have asked for better. I continued on to my in-laws, who have just opened up a spot for me and accepted me as I am. I can't join in on those "my crazy mother-in-law" rants, because mine is thoughtful and sweet and not a control freak and a great friend. Basically, my thankfulness this year is for all these sweet and wonderful people.
2. What are your goals for this year? I have a few outlined each year during my birthday, so I'm working on those continually. Right now, I've started my goal of watching every Seinfeld episode in chronological order and making plans to visit Harry Potter World. Less importantly, I want to run a half marathon this year.
3. If you could change anything about yourself or the world, what would it be? This is that big question that always brings me to the same answer. The thing I would change is that justice would really happen, that it would really roll down like a stream for forever. That all that junk about what you look like, what zip code or country you're born into, what culture your family is from, would never hinder us from loving one another. That we would have those goggles to see each other as God sees us, that we would look at the heart. God infamously picks the left out, too old, too young, too poor, oppressed people to be great. I wish we all had more of that first-shall-be-last-and-last-shall-be-first conviction in our hearts as we govern societies, live intentionally, and decide how we're going to serve God in this world.
It was a very moving Round Table this year. If it sounds cheesy, it wasn't cheesy at all. It was great. And as much as we love our families, I know that it can be the hardest to be vulnerable and share from the heart with the ones who know you and love you the most. The more we practice this sharing, the more we open up to each other, I think the easier it will be to see the best in everyone.