The day before Thanksgiving. Sleep in. Enjoy the warmth of the bed as it keeps away the chill in your room. Stay away from the world for a little longer this morning. No job forces you from your sleepiness today. Rest in the comfort of peace; reflect without worry about the bustle to come.
They will bring their children; they will bring pie. They will bring stories about their son’s cross-country race, how well he ran, how bright his future. They will tell of their friendships, their travels, the discoveries and pleasures of their lives. And they will bring sorrows that you will feel in the silence between words, that you will see in their eyes.
You have prepared beds for them. They will be warm and fed. They will delight in you and you in them. You will love them with their quiet sorrows and their many stories, and they will love you.
Their newborn will sleep and squeal and smear mash potatoes. She is a promise, a pledge of life to come. She will not remember what you remember but she will know what you will never know. Her parents will lose some sleep over her in these early days. Later they will lose much more. She will stretch their hearts and minds and they will ponder her life.
The last time you saw them you were watching the dirt fall on the hardwood that closed over one whom you both loved. You will share that sadness and the joy of remembering. Remember together. He had cared and worried for you in his time, before you had learned to remember. Speak of his goodness, forgive him for when he wronged you. Think about what he hoped to see when his eyes finally closed.
Learn to remember well now, learn to ponder. It will take the whole of your life to see how the strands of their lives and yours are woven together, and to allow the weaving to happen. It is the work of your life to trust the Weaver. If you are patient, you will love them more and your heart will change from stone to flesh. And if your heart is flesh, it will be pierced. Your heart will hurt more, and you will hope more, and you may taste now a happiness to come.
One day the ground will hide most of those you have known and loved. Perhaps for you that day is today, and tomorrow will be a day of empty chairs. And in the hollowness your mind will wander and your heart will ache with hunger. Do not worry about the bustle of the mind and heart. Remember in peace. Think about what they hoped to see, and pray for them.
Image: Paul Cézanne, Stilleben, Draperie, Krug und Obstschale