Thankful, a bit jealous, and even more thankful

This post is a bit late for a “thanksgiving” post but I’m going to share it none the less.

Each November people become more purposeful about remembering those things for which they’re grateful.  Some people (on Facebook) chose to post through the alphabet things for which they’re thankful.  Others just remembered a specific item or two for each day leading up to the holiday.  Still others, myself included, did neither of those items in a cyber platform yet still tried to reflect upon my blessings, the things for which I’m grateful and to remember not take things for granted.

Thanksgiving is a time when many anticipate spending time with family, both immediate and often extended.  There are traditional foods eaten and traditional activities done each year.  It’s a time for togetherness.

Normally we don’t spend Thanksgiving with our family because we’re overseas.  This year Dan and I were both looking forward to getting to spend Thanksgiving with our parents and other family.  On my side we were to celebrate early (Tuesday) with my sister and brother-in-law and their 5 children as well as my parents.  Then the gathering expanded to include my paternal uncle and aunt, a cousin, her husband and their son.  We had yet to see any of them this furlough so that was going to be particularly nice.  We would then drive to Louisville to spend Thanksgiving with Dan’s parents and Grandmother as well as the extended family on his mom’s side (5 of her cousins and spouses with all their children and spouses and grandchildren, etc).  It was going to be quite the crowd.

Then, in the days leading up to Thanksgiving I see a post from a Nampula friend of ours in Mozambique.  She referenced a trip their family was taking . . to stay with friends in the bush and then to head over to Montepuez for Thanksgiving.  And I confess, I felt a real pang of jealousy.

You see, just because we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving with family each year, we still have our traditions.  For the last many years we have traveled north, to Montepuez, to celebrate with teammates who live there and a couple other families that are close by.  We manage to gather several of our traditional Thanksgiving foods, we hang out and visit with each other, the 19-20 kids all play together, we worship, we eat, we dance and we note those things for which we’re grateful.  It’s always one of the highlights of our year and this year we weren’t doing that.

The jealousy surprised me and perhaps I even felt a bit guilty.  Afterall, I shouldn’t be jealous or covet something.

On reflection however, while I know I needn’t be jealous, I became thankful for that jealousy.  You see, I was reminded that in the times when we aren’t near family – blood family that is, God has provided for us many friends who have become as family.  I’m thankful for our overseas friends/teammates that have become as family.

I’m thankful for our blood family with whom we celebrated this year.  We had a lot of fun, some good conversations and I’m glad we could do that this year.

I’m thankful my Nampula friend, whose post prompted my thoughts, was able to celebrate Thanksgiving with my Montepuez friends for the 1st time.

I’m thankful for many things, even the jealous thoughts which cause me to see the abundance of what I’ve been given.

I’m Thankful for God; for He himself, and his abundant provision!