I got up this morning. I went back to bed for a while. I got back up, showered, came into the kitchen, cleaned up the deep fryer that Jason had waded (literally, the back yard is a pond, it's storming here complete with a nearby tornado on Christmas Day) out to the shed to get. I made our yearly Christmas tradition of beignets and coffee. Well, Jason helped, he sat outside with the fryer and actually cooked them and tossed them in the sugar while I was cleaning up.
We sat in the living room with the seemingly nearly empty Christmas tree. Not many wrapped gifts under the tree this year. Jason gave a long homily of things that were on his mind, his hopes and dreams for us as a family, tying it all into the Gift of Christmas. We prayed together. Dara passed out the few presents there were, we enjoyed what we got (and kinda wishing some of the stores like Michaels were open on Christmas Day, can't wait to use these gift cards Jason got us).
I took a picture of our Micaela.
On Christmas Day, as I sit here at the table with my laptop, my crochet, I look across to the couch where Dara and Micaela are sitting together playing XBOX, and Jason in his recliner. And I have a sudden epiphany. I've been saying how thankful I am that we still have our Micaela. And I realize. I have not been thankful. I've been grateful. The difference between grateful and thankful is this: Grateful is an acknowledgment of what could have been and what is. Thankful is grateful with a strong element of joy.
The scripture does not say to enter into His gates with gratefulness, but with thanksgiving, enter into His courts with praise. There is a strong element of JOY in both thanksgiving and in praise.
Four months after the accident, I've been struggling. Struggling to keep my composure, hold back outbursts of tears or sudden unexplained anger, struggling to be happy, struggling to survive the stress of the past four months and an uncertain financial future, bills to pay, job to do, house to clean, sanity to maintain, family to serve. I've lost my joy.
On Christmas Day, as I sit here at my table with my laptop, my crochet, I look across to the couch where Dara AND Micaela are sitting together - not just one daughter, but both daughters - and I am thankful. My heart is full of love, my heart is full of joy. And I understand. Today I offer Him my thanksgiving.