After scarfing down their plates of food, the men will head upstairs to watch the football game on television. Actually, that is what they say they will do, but most of them will be asleep within ten minutes. The kids will hurry and eat so they can get back to playing with all the cool toys Grandma keeps (many of which my brothers and I played with as children when we went there). The boys will surely have a "battle" going with the wooden guns my late grandfather made for my brothers. The girls will likely join in for a bit and then move on to their own "house" style games. And the women...we have the best time. We stay at the table talking for hours, and of course, continue eating those lovely pies and desserts. It's a wonderful time. We are spread across 4 states and don't get to see each other often, so the Holidays are all the more special to us.
I am thankful for the land in which I live. I am thankful for my faith and the freedom I have to practice it. I am thankful for my immediate and extended family. I am thankful for the friends I have all over this great nation and the world. I am thankful for a home that keeps us sheltered from the elements. I am thankful for wonderful medical care that is readily available. I did nothing to deserve all of these things, yet I have them because I was born here. Not everyone is so fortunate.
Somewhere in Eastern Europe, a six year old girl is going about her day. Just the same as any other day. Her meager meals are the same as they are any other day. Perhaps a watery porridge for breakfast, maybe a potato soup for lunch and dinner...maybe with a tiny bit of bread if she is lucky. Perhaps she is able to walk...perhaps she cannot and must rely on others to help her. And there she sits and waits, day in and day out. I wonder, what are her dreams? Does she dare to have any? Does she get to go outside of the institution walls? Do her caretakers treat her as a person or as an inanimate object? Does she want a family? Does she dare to hope? Is she warm? Is she sick? Does she get proper care if she is?
Little "Carolina" has no idea that a family is coming for her. She has no idea how many people have prayed for her over the years. How I long for the day I can wrap my arms around her and tell her she is loved by so many! I desperately desire to show her that she is of infinite worth and importance. And next year - God willing - she will spend Thanksgiving eating turkey, ham, chicken & noodles, rolls, veggies, mashed potatoes and pie...and being adored by her family.
Remember to be thankful this Thanksgiving. Whether your gathering is large or small, at home or far away, we are all blessed beyond measure.