Jon, on the occasion of his graduation party.
I now know how it feels to be overflowing with thankfulness.
I have felt thankful before, as in, happy and relieved and grateful. Often I feel as though I ought to be thankful.
But this weekend I have felt thankful in the fullest and truest sense of the word, pressed down, packed in and flowing over.
We didn't get many pictures, but trust me, Jon's party was a great day yesterday.
I am thankful to God for, among other things, the weather. It has been a strange and very wet summer. It rains every day, violent downpours that chase each other up driveways in waves and splatter in watery designs across windshields, splashings punctuated by thunder and lightening sometimes close enough to make one's hair stand on end. And after the five, or fifteen, or forty-seven minute deluge, the sun comes out again, hotter than blazes, with thick humidity that makes one feel a little as though pneumonia were creeping into the lungs.
In the midst of this, Shannon and I ran errands and got wet, day after day. Yes, wonder of wonders, Shannon has been home all week long, helping me. We withstood much rainwater on our heads, and I prayed and prayed for a decent day for the party.
We arose on Saturday morning to see that it had rained in the early hours of the day. We proceeded to prepare for the party, setting up tents, tables, chairs. Chopping fruit, icing bottles of water and cans of soda, arranging platters and heating up the hot food in roasters. And do you know... the weather held out! It was really nice, all day long, right through to the end of the party. After the last guest left, we took down the tables and chairs, stowed them in the garage, lowered the tent. We went to bed. In the morning, we arose to discover that it had rained in the night. God is so good. He gave us this window, this beautiful, marvelous, miraculous window, in which to celebrate Jon.
I am thankful to God for the weather, and also that our nuclear family, the perfect six of us, were all together in our very special, half-a-dozen way. Lulu came home on the Amtrak, all by herself, and it was perfect and fantastic. The bedrooms were full, and each bed was slept in by its exact and proper sleeper, our last shebang together in this, our family home of 18 years where the young ones were raised and Shawn and I transformed from young adulthood to the farther side of middle age. It has been our last time all together, just us, here, in this house, and God has blessed us so richly. So richly. Such rich blessings can make me cry, but they are good tears.
I am also thankful for friends, thankful for them, and thankful to them. I am thankful that when there is not a single blood relative within hundreds of miles, these people have stood in the gap, praying for us, laughing with us, sometimes crying with us. We've shared driving responsibilities. We've shared meals. We've shared deep secrets. We've shared parenting tips and recommendations for dog groomers. New friends, old friends, neighbors, school friends. And the glory of it appears when they come to our party and unexpected people know each other and I look out and see people connecting, conversing, having a really nice time. God is so good.
I am thankful for friends and relatives who could not be at the party, but who prayed for me. Going through things, trying to pack and clean and prepare, occasionally I would happen across an old letter, which I would read, and so often I found within the envelope the words: "I am praying for you." Texts, too, would pop up at the most perfect times, reminding me that I was being uplifted. Thank you to those who prayed, and to the Lord who heard and answered.
I am, above all else, thankful for Jesus. Because in the midst of everything, I know that He will never leave me or forsake me. He loves me. He is working with me and on me. Even if the moving truck crashes and burns and the house we bought turns out to be a mold-ridden death trap, God is in control and has a plan for me. He is my security. My home is not my security, nor my bank account, nor even my family. God is my security, my Lord, my everything. And the best part of that is this: nothing can ever take Him away from me. Nothing can separate me from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus my Lord.
We are moving in a couple of weeks, and it is OK. It is all going to be OK. Because when we get to the other end of this, Jesus will be there already, ahead of us, marking out our path.
Happy graduation, Jonathan. We are, all of us, on to new horizons.