Seeing and Hearing Thankfulness

Taking a moment amidst the clutter of my upturned life, I forced myself to stand still and just breath and release the anxiety and stress that this last year handed me. It took me some time to sweep away my initial assessment of the year as one of glass shards, barbed wire, and shit, to one that at its core was remarkable. One of the most important lessons I’ve learned in this year of embracing eyes to see and ears to hear is to carefully recognize my own subterfuge and wash it away so that I might see and hear things as they really are. I may not always like the result, which is why we all create subterfuge, right? to try and make the world more palatable, to fit the world into the mold that we think it should be? I’m over that. I was forced to be over that…against my will much of the time. I am not in my own personal Kansas anymore.

So as Thanksgiving draws near, I began to focus on what I am thankful for. I am thankful my husband is not dead, mic drop. I forced myself to relive those moments of his accident and drive across Wisconsin with my youngest son in tow to his aid, his face white with pain and screaming the 5 hrs home, and being absolutely powerless to do anything to take the pain away. The frightful prayers of begging God to please make him OK, and for being sorry for every harsh word I ever said (until I had to clean the commode for the first time and the harsh words came back). I am thankful for realizing that the magnanimity of who he is was able to shine out through all the people who showed up, surrounded, and lifted us up in a time when our livelihood came to a screeching halt and were able to see what a difference he has made to my world and so many others. It embarrassing to admit it took something like this to blast the point home.

I am thankful that God gave me two distinct and unusual sons who, as they get older, leave me verklempt much of the time because of how truly amazing they are. I remember my eldest asking me when he was younger whether the love of God could reach even the darkest corner of hell, and how he broke down at a football game once when he was 11 because he was told there was no cure for cancer. I remember how when he corrected me as a child he would start his sentences with “Actually”and proceed to press his point of view. More importantly, I am thankful for how he has expanded my understanding of a non-binary LGBTQ community and his assessment of what is broken in the world, and deep empathy for those that don’t fit society’s often limiting norms. The fact that he is a computer engineer and never gets impatient when I ask him computer questions is icing on the cake.

I am thankful for my youngest son, who from the get go kept me on my toes as the strongest willed child known to humanity. I dreamt once that I was laying on my back looking up at the stars and knew I could move them around and suddenly he was there and said as he was moving a star, “look mama, I can move them too” I once had to pull over the car because he felt sick when he saw an eagle grab a cat and fly away. His deep empathy and love for animals was a sure sign to me that this strong athletic D2 football player could redefine what true masculinity is. He sees through subterfuge, he sees possibility and what is necessary to move stars. I am thankful he has embraced so many of the challenges he has faced, knowing full well he is the benefactor of all the wisdom that those challenges have brought and will indeed help him move the stars. The fact that he definitely has his father’s “magic hands” as a budding chiropractor is also icing on the cake.

Most of all, I am thankful for seeing and hearing clearly…amidst it all.

The Fruit of Thanks


It’s come so fast, this season of Thanksgiving. It seems a moment ago that I started my year of celebrating the fruits of all God’s children. And par for the course, it didn’t turn out at ALL like I expected. This year I did celebrate the many fruits God has gifted us, but also mourned fruit lost from violence, divisiveness, abuse of power, lies and just blind hatred and judgement. I spent much of the year struggling to keep my face above the negative fray, unsuccessful at times, especially when in one fell swoop a multitude of fruit was swept away, whether it was by Mother Nature or humanity itself. I think as the tower of illusions came tumbling down around me and the world became exposed for what it truly is, old wounds were uncovered and still lie unhealed. It was addressing my wounds that I was forced to come to terms with how my own talents may have been cut off or dwarfed resulting in a lesser version of what could have been, and more importantly how my lack affected others whom the master intended me to help flourish. I read and re-read the parable of the talents and understand that goodness is the result of taking the talents given to us and sharing them for the world’s benefit, and not just our own. And I prayed about what happens when talents themselves are stolen before they have a chance to benefit anyone. I think a lot about the good that could have come and never did because a gift was ripped away…and then we all lose, the Kingdom of God stakes a step backward.

God has made it clear, however, what will happen to those who champion the destruction, or benefit from the burying of, God’s given fruits. For right after the parable of the talents, Jesus tells us of the gathering of the nations when the Son of Glory comes again and he will separate them like a shepherd does with sheep and goats, and say to them:

Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’ Then the righteous will answer him and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?

And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers or sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, a stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.’ Then they will answer and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?’ He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.’ And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.

All that God asks us to do is to behave and share our talents in a way that will benefit even the least of all of us, because that will ensure the best environment for every fruit to thrive. It is not up to us to determine who is worthy, only that we take our talents and bring them out to the world to feed, clothe, welcome, and heal. That is our charge, and for that I am so very grateful to those who in this past year have given me hope. And while there are many…here are a few that come to mind that I can happily name…

Steve Edling: for your healing efforts, regardless of the difficulty…you have helped many heal so that they, in turn, can bear their own fruit.

Riley Edling: for being strong in integrity even when there were those who would break you down.

Connor Edling: for rising to the challenges you’ve faced and to never let fear win.

Ruth Flood: for facing the challenges of the world without your life long partner with  faithful strength. Your keen eye and commitment to know and understand what is happening in the world, is one of your superpowers.

For my siblings: for being present, unique, strong, supportive and my safety blanket.

For my nieces and nephews: for seeing God’s work in action through your talents and personal passions.

For Rayola Edling: for being a second mother to me and your strong will and quiet comfort.

For my sisters and brother-in-law: for your friendship, presence and support of my family.

For my extended family: for your friendship and amazing links to a shared past…our forebears can be proud of their legacy.

For the many wonderful practice members at our clinic, for your commitment to health and often extending that commitment to helping others reach better health as well.

For honest friends, those who can see beyond the veil of politics and bubbles…who, with civility, can agree to disagree with facts and never fiction or a need to denigrate anyone.

For all those in leadership positions who: don’t abuse power, speak the truth to those who do, hold the powerful accountable even against their own interest, put our country above party, hold themselves to a higher standard because of those who follow them, have a vision of a better world and are willing to roll up their sleeves and work with the rest of us and most importantly set an example of what it means to be a true leader.

For my country: whose long efforts to promote liberty and justice for all is one I honor and commit to every day, and whose bountiful gifts I receive with gratitude and pride.

And most importantly for my God: who in whispers continues to give me hope, augments my limited heart with a heavenly one, and has faith in me, especially when I don’t. I am yours and you are mine. I will walk where you send me and use my talents to build the kingdom in my own unique and flawed way, always with love, truth, kindness and forgiveness.

Happiest of Thanksgiving to you and yours!