Tomorrow We Gather

Tomorrow we gather with dear friends for Thanksgiving.

I stand at the stove whisking milk and cream into pumpkin puree tonight, watching the steam carry curling wafts of cinnamon and nutmeg and cloves into the air.

Evidence of great blessing lies a few feet in every direction; at this particular moment, I’m grateful for ready-made gluten-free pie crusts, for grocery delivery services, and for children slumbering safe in warm beds. For a husband who will come in soon from woodworking in a chilly garage.

Tomorrow, Deo volente, the four of us will tumble out of bed and likely spill more than a few biscuit crumbs on a blanket in the living room as we watch the parade together. We’ll bundle up ourselves and our pie pans and roasted vegetables, and arrive rosy-cheeked to sniff the aromas coming from one of the most deliciously prolific kitchens in America — and I mean that very seriously; we have been cured of food aversions by the toasted-coconut cakes and buttered peas and spoonbreads made by this talented couple.

But I know already that when we sit around the table, we won’t be a picture of perfection. Not one of us has gone untouched by the valleys of the past year; our still-interrupted nights and burden-sharing coffee dates can attest to that.

And while this paragraph presents itself to my melancholy nature as a good segue into further details of our scars and the places our feet have so unwillingly taken us, a little, stubborn hint of something is resounding through my heart tonight — something spirited and, for some reason, so reminiscent of the voices of stout-hearted immigrant mamas that I have to laugh.

So? it says. So we are a little broken.

There isn’t a soul in this world untouched by brokenness.

But something else, too: there isn’t a soul in this world untouched by God’s goodness, either. Remember this. 

So tomorrow we gather, broken, and give thanks — not because we are at a feast table and away from the NICU or the emergency room or seeming Sheols, but because we have been in these places, and He is there too. Wherever we are this time next year, His goodness will be with us.

And for this we can give thanks, always!

Yes and Amen. (Now eat some more or you’ll get hungry later.)

If I were sketching out a story, I would give a face and rolled-up sleeves and flour-dusted hands to these words — but you’ll have to take them as they are, friends, as I wait cross-legged on the kitchen floor for the pies to cool. I hope they made you crack a smile, and forgive me if they didn’t; the little preachments I make to my soul sometimes come in quirky ways.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of us who are broken, who clasp hands in the expectant hope that He is even now working to make us whole.



I remain confident of this:
    I will see the goodness of the Lord
    in the land of the living.

– Ps. 27:13