thanksgiving: definition

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celebration of divine goodness

I’m lingering in the in-between. It is the changing of the seasons. Right now there are pumpkins on our mantel and a cinnamon harvest candle with a wick that no longer burns. It is called Gather. I bought it more for the hope than the scent. 

In the next twenty-four hours, there will be pine scent and rich, smooth hot chocolate. Too many white lights will twinkle and the stockings will be hung. 

I’ve been considering what it means to decorate with wisdom and whimsy.  I consider whimsy and wisdom a lot these days. In 2020, I went from wanting to be a woman of wisdom and whimsy to accepting that I am a woman of wisdom and whimsy.

It is a significant transformation. 

Too often humans keep wanting or praying or desiring something they already are. I’ve prayed for many years for wisdom and whimsy to permeate my life, and this year I realized that it’s time to start living as a woman of wisdom and whimsy, rather than someone who is still hoping for it to happen.

Celebration is both wise and whimsical, which is why I’m struck by the definition of thanksgiving: a celebration of divine goodness. Rather than an attitude of gratitude, which I expected to find when searching the definition for thanksgiving, I find it is a celebration of divine goodness. 

I’ve learned that celebration doesn’t have to stem from an external event. It can be an internal posture. We just celebrated American Thanksgiving. It is a lovely event, and a day when we bring gratitude to the top of our hearts and the forefront of our conversations. 

The more I think about the definition of thanksgiving, the more I realize that it is not an event. It is an internal posture of my heart. It is a celebration.

My kids are becoming super big kids. They are barreling towards independence, and Andy and I are learning to let go in new ways. I find the same feelings as when Sam moved from infant cuddles to toddler discovery. I missed the previous stage, but I want to embrace the current stage. I made a commitment to the infant-Sam to always allow the current stage to be my favorite. 

This commitment was sometimes muddied as we slogged through rocky years with the girls. However, as I listened to deep voices from my teenage sons calling me Mom, I renewed my desire to always allow the current stage to be my favorite. 

Rolling into Christmas, I am lingering in the in-between. The kids are grasping for independence and clinging to the security of family. They are pushing and pulling. I find myself in a precarious position of waiting for their signals to determine whether we are rolling into the next season of parenting or lingering in the previous season. 

It seems the transformation is not as rapid as swapping out the Gather candle for Christmas goodness. As I consider how to decorate with wisdom and whimsy, I will also celebrate the divine goodness of parenting with wisdom and whimsy.

9 Comments »

  1. I remember that stage of pushing and pulling. For me, it was not an easy stage, I must say. Embracing where you are right now is such a solid, strong attitude to have. It’s difficult not to wish for the next stage to come.

  2. Being who you are, being where you are, being fully present – preferred condition in order to notice and celebrate the divine goodness. Wisdom and whimsy – great combination.

  3. These words stopped me in my tracks: “Too often humans keep wanting or praying or desiring something they already are. I’ve prayed for many years for wisdom and whimsy to permeate my life, and this year I realized that it’s time to start living as a woman of wisdom and whimsy, rather than someone who is still hoping for it to happen.”

    This is something I need to mull over and write about for my own life. What am I still just hoping will happen?

    I also love your commitment to every stage being your favorite. There is so much truth there. Thank you for sharing this!

  4. Oh, what fun to read this post on the last day of November. Even though I’ve often started decorating the day after Thanksgiving, I held off this year (maybe due to the fact that I had two grandsons here until Saturday)! Yesterday I moved the toys to the shelves on the opposite side of the room (and the books to where the toys used to be), all because I couldn’t let the tree block the toy shelves.
    A friend came into my house preCOVID and commented that it looked like a preschool! Oh, how lucky I am to be in this stage of life! I’m trying to savor each sweet stage with Jack and Robby and enjoying Ruthie and Teddy’s stages as much as I can on FaceTime.
    I love that you’re working at accepting that you ARE a woman of wisdom and whimsy. Never forget the lives you’ve nurtured and blessed with your words. I’m one of the many! I still treasure our time sharing our hearts sitting at that table outside Starbucks at the Houston NCTE.

  5. Love, love that you have accepted something all of us have known for a long time…you are a woman of wisdom and whimsy. I also agree that I want to live in perpetual Thanksgiving within— for even the rock hard places that we all have adventured in. Love you Ruth, good to be back. My heart and eyes are full (happy tears, that every days I need to explain to Dave). XO nanc

  6. Ruth! You made me laugh out loud and I am grateful. I love that you are a woman of whimsy and wisdom … and that you are embracing the reality of being so. Fantabulous. You are blessed.