A few hundred years ago, or so the story goes, a bunch of people came to a new land in search of a new life.  They arrived hundreds of miles north from where they hoped to go–instead of the warm and settled Virginia shores, they landed in Massachussetts, a nice place, but much much colder, fiercer and wild.  Their first winter was terrible, full of starvation and disease, the kind of trials that make one wonder what on earth was so great about the new life they were seeking…the kind of winter that makes one hungry for the old world, no matter how smelly or constraining or heartbreakingly hard it might have been.

And so they say, that the winter passed.  Many died.  Even more suffered.  So much was lost and there was grief, and tears and heartache.

But the spring came, and they learned what kinds of new foods they could grow.  They learned to hunt and made peace with the neighbors.  They built a life that while rugged and tough was full and even joyful.    People were married, babies were born.  A community was built.  And so after an autumn harvest they gathered together as a community to celebrate the bounty of all that they had…all that they have achieved.  To toast their survival and give thanks for the food, their lives and each other.

I find myself relating alot to these pilgrims this holiday.  Not that long ago I found myself in a bit of a bleak winter myself.   My marriage was gone and I had landed on a new shore–one that I hadn’t set out for, one called single parenting.  I didn’t know what I was doing, I had no idea how to keep it together.  My heart was heavy, my body sick, I felt alone and hungry and not quite sure how it would all turn out.  But mostly I felt so utterly and overwhelmingly alone.

But somehow, by some miracle, I kept going–putting one foot in front of the other.  I have no real memory of how I got through it all.

And eventually spring came.  Things got a little lighter, a little easier.  I learned to ask for help.  I learned to reach outside my shell and open up my heart to new people and experiences.  In the light of new sunshine I planted some seeds of hope and watered them with care.    I talked more to the neighbors.  I reached out of the shell of my grief and built new friendships and cared for the old ones too.  I stopped thinking of myself as someone who had lost something and started thinking of this journey as a new adventure–sure one that had not been planned for–but an adventure nonetheless.

The other day, as I wrote this post, I was overcome with gratitude–a strong sense that my harvest had come in and that I was was blessed with a bounty three times greater than I had ever dared hope for.  I have learned to cultivate community, love and friendship.  I am surrounded by such love and joy.  I know that no matter how cold the next winter gets I will not grow hungry or lonely again.

And while, yes, I have worked hard to get to this place, truth is I know I am blessed, really blessed.   I have dear friends who helped me learn to grow hope and joy.    I have community which made it all possible. 

I have come to a new land…one called single parenting.  I survived a cold lonely winter and have emerged joyful that I have made a new life in this place.  I have planted hope and harvested love.  I have grown tough and independent in this new land.   

And for this I am thankful thankful thankful.

2 Responses to “Thankful”

  1. Jena Strong Says:

    Meg –

    This analogy is beautiful. Happy Thanksgiving to you & yours.

    Jena

  2. Jen Ballantyne Says:

    Meg, you are so brave and yes you are blessed but you worked hard and you deserve what you have with your community and support. I am happy for you. Now I need your guidance on how to create that for myself. Hugs Jenxx