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Sabbath Revival: Last Thanksgiving

By Catherine Pavia

Happy Sunday! We’ve decided that Sunday is the perfect day for revival in every way. For our blog, that revival takes the form of posts from the archives. So this is the first of the Sabbath Revival posts. I decided that because November is the month of Thanksgiving, I’d revive a post each Sunday that has to do with giving thanks. This first one was written by Heather O. and was originally posted on November 22, 2007:

Posted by Heather O. | November 22, 2007 | 17 Comments

Last Thanksgiving I was 11 weeks pregnant. And on bedrest. And terrified I would lose my baby.

Cramping, spotting, unable to move without pain, I spent the day listening to my mother-in-law prepare the entire meal, which she did with amazing cheerfulness. I looked out the window at the bare trees in my yard, too distracted and worried to do anything else. I ate my mother-in-law’s delicious feast, tried to help with the dishes, but then I doubled over in pain and started spotting. I promptly went back to bed. I settled back in the cushions, and stared out the window once more.

6 months later, I was back on bedrest, staring at the now budding trees in my yard, trying to remember what life was like without pain, wondering if I would ever be able to move without wanting to cry out, and again terrified that I would lose my baby.

My pregnancy taught me a lot about pain. And I have learned that when pain is gone, you are made truly grateful.

I used to think gratitude was about appreciating what you have, particularly relative to what others do not have. Eat your beans, child, because there are starving families in China! If you don’t like your toys, I will give them away to somebody who does!

I also used to think gratitude came from acknowledging your unworthiness of blessings. Thank you, Father, for what You have bestowed on Your humble and lowly servants, and we acknowledge Thy Hand in all things.

Maybe gratitude is all of those things, or a part of them. But really, I think it’s all about the pain. And the not having of it. In any capacity. The sweet joy of relief. Such a blessing trumps any thoughts of have vs. have not, stuff vs. no stuff, service to know your nothingness. This is such stuff as joy is made on.

This Thanksgiving, the leaves in my yard are an eye-popping display of gold, red, pink, and yellow. I stared out my window this morning as I snuggled with my baby during her morning nap. I cleaned my house for my mother-in-law’s return, and we have already prepared 2 fantastic looking pies, raspberry jello, and the yams. We are ready to party.

And as I pray over our meal tomorrow (today? Sheesh, what time is it?), I will sing a song of gratitude for the One who can relieve all sorrows, the One who can take away all pain. I will understand what it means to sing the song of redeeming love. I will feel true gratitude.

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody. And all you marshmallow haters out there, stay away from my house.
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About Catherine Pavia

(Prose Board) has worked as a cherry sorter, file girl, piano teacher, writer, editor, and college professor. She currently works full-time as the art director, events planner, chauffeur, and referee for her four children. She spends a good deal of her time running—be it down the supermarket aisle after an escaped child, around the living room in a heated game of flag football, or on early-morning runs/therapy sessions with her neighborhood friends. She earned her BA and MA in English from BYU and her PhD in English from UMass Amherst.

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