I look forward to Christmas.
Thanksgiving has been a hard holiday for me for many years. For years I would get a litany of trangressions recited for me by my ex-wife. All the things that her family allegedly had done or would do at Thanksgiving. Every year, it got a little worse, until… Well, until the end, naturally.
Thursday, I was at my friend J’s house where he and his fiance, L, hosted Thanksgiving. L is exceptionally easy to talk to and, well, she must have asked just the right question to get part of the story of Thanksgiving 2004. You see, that was the year, the Sunday before Thanksgiving, that my ex-wife left. She left while I was in the shower, taking the only working car and her daughter, leaving no note or message of explantion. Just gone. Obviously, I think about that every year now. As the holiday draws closer that other anniversary does, too. But, what caught me a little by surprise was that I’d written down the actual day.
I’ve read from the same daily devotional for several years now. Some time back, I started writing significant things with the year on the day they occurred in this devotional, so that I might be reminded of them each year. On November 21, I have just a single name with the year 2004 written next to it. I know precisely what it means.
I mentioned that to L as I told the story. She commented that, maybe one day, I’d have a different copy of the devotional and write different things in it. But, I told her that I didn’t think I would. I don’t want to forget. That moment, in part, defines who I am, as do many, many others. I’m my past as much as I am my present or my future. Who I am today is based on who I was. I’m the choices I made, good and bad. I’m the result of poor planning, worse judgement and pointless struggles, just as I am the result of lucky breaks, hard work and the love and care of those around me.
I’m far from perfect, God knows, but I think I’m a better man than I was five years ago, or even two years ago, because of both the things I got right and the things I got wrong.
And, with every passing year, that feels more and more comfortable.