It was 1959 and we had just moved to California. My mother was cooking a bird for the holiday, but it wasn't our usual turkey. We could not afford one that year; and someone had given my dad a duck so she was roasting it. Or trying to.
Mom had never roasted a duck before and was not quite sure about how to proceed. Nevertheless, she basted and buttered as best she could and we were grateful for the gift. As a child, I simply remember thinking, "Boy, this is odd looking meat." It was so dark it was almost black. It did not taste too bad, but it sure wasn't turkey either.
Life is like that sometimes. You get used to turkey, preferably the light meat (you know who you are ... :) and then you get handed a duck. You don't quite know what to do with it, but you do what you can.
I was sitting down in Sacramento a few months ago, "dining daily" as it were, on the light meat of life. Good food, nice home, easy schedule. And then whammo, a phone call, a trip to the hospital with my son, and I am handed a duck - and it is all dark meat. It's been a little stringy, too. (Just saying... )
As a fairly recent retiree, I had not cooked much lately. Then K. came home from the hospital and I had to fire up the old range. I have managed a few old staples: pot roast with vegetables, goulash, spaghetti with sourdough bread, you know the usual stuff. Clearly, I am no gourmet chef.
I have also had to learn to deal with the dark meat of life, again. I am not mechanically inclined. I can change a light bulb, but that is about it. However, for the past four months I have learned to deal with a plethora of medical mechanics each day! Now that, my friends is some dark duck we are talking about!
When life hands us tough stuff, most of us are tempted to wail away about our fate. "Why me?" we whimper. Well, sometimes I whimper; but maybe you are stronger than that.
And should anyone have the temerity to suggest we might want to adopt an "attitude of gratitude" - well, they proceed at their own peril.
Others scoff at the scripture that tells us to be thankful in all things. Ah, but there is the point. God knows our hearts, minds, and frail bodies. He "remembers our frame and knows we are dust."
And the critical differentiator is not that we are instructed to be thankful "for" all things. That is simply beyond our capability and understanding. We are told to be thankful "in" all things. I'm sure many of you have had this pointed out before; but it is important enough to repeat.
We are not grateful for pain. But we can remain thankful in our pain. We cannot be grateful for loss. But we can become thankful during and through our losses. We always have a choice - we can become better or bitter through our trials.
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As we approach the Thanksgiving Holiday, I hope your days are full of light and all good things. Until next time ...Marsha
Note: This is Part I of two posts on "What Are You Doing for Thanksgiving?"