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Thread: Giving Thanks

  1. #1

    Giving Thanks

    Every year we get together with the same five families at Thanksgiving. Each November we unite, taking turns hosting the event. We remark on the changes in our children and observe the new wrinkles and the graying or loss of each other’s hair.

    Early on, for reasons long forgotten, I became the guy who says the blessing. No matter whose house, come hell or high water, nobody eats until John says a prayer. Depending on your point of view, I am either the gateway to bounty or the final impediment to chowing down.

    I always think I will plan ahead but seldom do. Most often I wing it with appropriate but undistinguished platitudes. These seem to flow from my mouth like sauce from a gravy boat. For years I had a divine confidence in the unfolding universe.

    Lately, however, since my son became SCI, I tend to fret about the prayer. At my advanced age, I seem to have lost my spiritual mojo. The whole concept of God is in doubt.

    Most of you know the story: Following Thanksgiving in 2002, he was in a freak accident on his way back to University. Due to someone else’s carelessness, he became paralyzed. That was the last Thanksgiving when he would stand unaided alongside the other children in our hybrid clan.

    The next year, he was doing rehabilitation out-of-state with my wife. I chose not to partake in our customary get together. I was shaky and the idea of being the center of attention made me uncomfortable. So, I deferred and enjoyed a quiet evening alone with my cat.

    Subsequent Thanksgivings find me back in the familiar company of my friends. Secretly though, I long to be alone. I continue with the motions of saying our yearly blessing, but I find the words to be thankful to God getting stuck in my throat. I attempt euphemistic alternatives but deep down know I am faking it.

    In addition to my religious doubt there is a dis-connect with my AB friends. Something got lost in the translation between “before” and “after.”

    Simple questions such as, “How is Noah?” lead us down complicated paths if answered in depth. Worse are the simplifications that seem rudely dismissive. Anymore, SCI is the big pumpkin on the table and it gets in the way of the conviviality of the pre-injury days.

    As wonderful and open-minded as my friends are, they are no better at adjusting to the reality of SCI than society at large. For example, their homes are more or less inaccessible to wheelchairs. And they cannot, nor should they, fully comprehend what all of us here on CC understand: SCI is endlessly problematic. Try as we might, it isolates us.

    Last evening, after much conversation and just when our senses brimmed to overflow from ogling and smelling the pending feast, all eyes once again turned my way. I managed to cough up a bland and forgettable homily. I gave thanks for our families and friendships and hoped our meal would strengthen us to serve the greater good. I carefully avoided God and probably will into an indefinite future.

    We overate, played board games before dessert, laughed at each other, and then ate some more. Afterwards, upon arriving home, I ritually logged onto CC for my nightcap. I admit to being addicted. But here, amidst the Pollyannas of Hope and the Grinchy pessimists, I am at home. I appreciate our bad behavior along with the good. For this community I am genuinely and unashamedly thankful.

    Today I worked a half-day then went to the Red Cross Blood Drive and donated a pint. So, that big meal did end up being useful for others after all. My little metaphysical troubles have rested. I am content. And, I am thankful for that too.

    John
    Last edited by john smith; 11-25-2006 at 01:54 PM.
    "Hope is like a road in the country; there was never a road, but when many people walk on it, the road comes into existence." Lin Yutang

  2. #2
    John Smith may have temporarily lost sight of God. I am absolutely certain, though, that God's faith in John Smith remains unshaken-and unshakeable.

    As a kid with a crutch once said around this time of year-"God bless us every one."

    (I wonder if Tiny Tim ever got tired of this interminable battle to get into other people's homes? In my current frail state, the only place I don't dread visiting is the nursing home my mom lives in. It used to be the opposite!)

  3. #3
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    John, my sentiments exactly but having been at this for 17 years, my feelings have changed a little. I still avoid the yearly crowd of family like the plague. I get tired of the "you dont look so good" or how "great I look" from people who spend all of three hours with me every year. I am thankful for those few family members who do see me as the person that I am. I guess it is good in its own strange way.....

    One down (Thanksgiving) One to go (Christmas).....If I can get my daughter to agree, I am thinking Christmas on a warm beach this year is not a bad idea....at least no one knows me there.

    I share your addiction to CC and keep coming back.
    T12-L2; Burst fracture L1: Incomplete walking with AFO's and cane since 1989

    My goal in life is to be as good of a person my dog already thinks I am. ~Author Unknown

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by darkeyed_daisy
    John, my sentiments exactly but having been at this for 17 years, my feelings have changed a little. I still avoid the yearly crowd of family like the plague. I get tired of the "you dont look so good" or how "great I look" from people who spend all of three hours with me every year. I am thankful for those few family members who do see me as the person that I am. I guess it is good in its own strange way.....

    One down (Thanksgiving) One to go (Christmas).....If I can get my daughter to agree, I am thinking Christmas on a warm beach this year is not a bad idea....at least no one knows me there.

    I share your addiction to CC and keep coming back.
    I'll go to the beach with you.

  5. #5

    Thank's John

    To be able to share as you have, and to get in touch with what is honesty, isn't that what the rest of society needs to do. John, your not alone in how you feel. I do think you by your expressions have told "us" that you do understand. And you know what, thats what Love is. Taking the time to get to know where other's are coming from. Your friends don't have that insight. You have made it a priority to "get it". Your reconizing the inabilities of society in general says a lot. You haven't failed John. Don't be so hard on yourself about the thanksgiving prayer. God knows your heart.
    We tend to feel unworthy when we can't "fix" things that are wrong. In our family, in our community ,and in our world. John lay tghe blame aside my friend. I know you feel as left out as your son at times. Nothing will be the same again. But don't let your son think he's that much different than before.
    Sometimes we are our own worst enemies. GOD BLESS you man!

  6. #6
    Senior Member medic1's Avatar
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    How do I begin? Where are the words that will convince you of gods saving grace. I am trying to understand where you are at? Are you mad at God? Or do you think he no longer exhists? Is your faith in doubt? and Why?

    It is very easy to become addicted to CC. I felt for a long time after my accident that I would never find anyone that I could confide in or talk to, with them understanding what is going on in my life. Then I found CC. It seemed like my savior. I have found it good though to take a break from it now an again and gain a look into reality. Not everyone knows about SCI, and not many up here have even encountered someone with any type of disability. We can not allow ourselves to quarantine our minds into thinking that others know how we live or have compassion for our everyday struggles. CC will always be here when things get heavy in my heart and on my mind, I know I can always log on, but to rely on it too much, I have found myself decieved. Thinking that others will see me for who I am and look past the disability. I have struggled with my faith, wondering "why me?" But "who else?" The driver I traded spots with? He had a family, young children, why should he not be able to pick up his children? There is no use in questioning, doubting, there is only acceptance of the life we are given.

    A person can drive themselves mad questioning and doubting. I know you are a man of faith, and I know that our lord is and will continue to carry you through your time of doubt.

    Your son is alive, I think my Thanksgiving's would be a celebration of life and how fragile life is. How quickly loved ones are taken without a "good-bye" or an "I love you".

    I hope not to have offended you, and hope I have brought you some comfort in knowing that we all have times of questioning our faith. You are a strong partner in CC. Many of us look up to you and share our lives with you. You are a strong man with a beautiful family. Know that you will be in the thoughts and prayers of many in the CC family.

  7. #7
    Sarah;

    Good to hear from you. You have not offended me in any way. I appreciate yours and everyone's honesty.

    I am fine, no one should worry about me. LOL, I'm just thinking out loud. I'm just another ruminant in the pasture; an old ox chewing his cud.

    I believe my addiction to CC is healthy. I thrive on the interaction even if I am just observing. Moderation, of course, gives me a purpose. That is important.

    As to God and faith, well, I can't get my heart around any definitive answers to those questions. Maybe in time and maybe because of the trials of SCI, answers will be forthcoming. I am puzzled but not impatient.

    Thanks for your kind words.

    John
    "Hope is like a road in the country; there was never a road, but when many people walk on it, the road comes into existence." Lin Yutang

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