This was a
Thanksgiving unlike any other. My cousin was having a wedding in Denver
the Saturday after
Thanksgiving, which in theory is a wonderful time to have a celebration.
I bit the bullet and
took one for the team in honor of family. Nelson said there was no way all of
us could go but he gave me the go ahead to fly out. This was great, I thought,
until the short weekend trip turned into a 5 day trip leaving the morning of
Thanksgiving when I decided to fly with my folks.
I was uneasy about it
from the get go but I've traveled without my family before so I figured I'd be
fine with it. Except I wasn’t. I didn't shop for the wedding, plan what to
bring or anything that had any semblance at all to taking that trip. I could
not, no matter how hard I tried, get happy about going.
The thought of my
little family sitting around the table at Thanksgiving without me broke my
heart. There was something oddly off, deep down in the pit of my stomach, and I
was not at peace. Instead of sharing these feelings with my folks or Nelson, I
just thought I'd push through. In the grand scheme of things I would be fine,
my family would be fine and I could do it.
Two days before the scheduled departure, after I had stayed up long hours
preparing the dishes for Nelson to bring to the meal, I started to shake. The
kind of physical shaking that is so slight you almost can't see it. Then my
stomach started to turn. Then the tears came and I could not turn them off.
I hit the pillow,
grabbed Nelson and said, "I can't do it. I don't think I can go. I really,
really don't want to go." This caught him totally off guard. He's not used
to his can-do, self-sufficient wife having a total melt-down (ok maybe he is, but I'd like to pretend this
like NEVER happens).
I knew instantly that
he sensed the sheer panic in my voice because when I asked him about losing the
money and the plane ticket, he said that none of that mattered if I wasn't
peaceful. I needed to do what I thought was right. "Why don't you sleep on
it? You're tired and maybe you'll feel better in the morning."
That was a descent
plan; except that I was too busy crying to sleep. It was a choice between two
families. I didn't want him to let me decide, I wanted him to tell me what to
do and he would not do that.
The next day several
things happened that added to the uneasy feelings. Very dear friends of our
family were in a car accident that morning and the wife was killed and the
husband was in the ICU. This only added to the dilemma of whether or not I could
break the news to my folks who were looking forward to the trip. How could I
abandon them while they were mourning?
In the meantime, Nelson woke up feeling awful
and was going downhill fast. He went to work and told me to let him know in an
hour because he thought he might be able to work something out with the airline
with 24 hours notice. I couldn't find peace. I couldn't decide.
I made a phone call
to a dear friend and could hardly get out, "Do you have a minute to
talk?" before bursting into tears. She asked if I was at home and said
she'd be right over (don't you just love friends like that?). She sat and
listened to me with a mother's heart. She would not decide for me either but
she prayed with me and left saying she thought I probably knew what I was
supposed to do.
I called Nelson and
asked him to make the call." If they won't make a deal with us, I'll just
go, but I really want to stay if possible." He texted me within 20 minutes to let me know I
was off the hook and that the airline was very merciful. Honestly though, by
that point, I don't think he would have told me if we lost everything. He
sensed my unrest and wanted to ease it for me. I love that man!
And just like that,
the burden was lifted. I knew right then and there that I made the right
choice. I've learned through the years that God often speaks to me in my gut.
That's a real (and kind of obnoxious) term for how I can feel the Spirit move.
It often happens physically for me. Not in a see the writing on the wall kind
of way (though I would totally take that God...anytime you want to give it a
shot), but rather, in the pit of my stomach.
Other than that whole
mess, it was probably the most peaceful Thanksgiving on the books for me. I
didn't host it (Nelson said he was going to tell my sister-in-law that this was
just my grandiose plan to have someone else host). All my contributions were
done days before. I woke up that morning, made some pumpkin muffins (for
everyone but Nelson who had been throwing the day before - thank God I stayed),
went for a run, watched a bit of the Macy's parade and headed over to my
brother's. The food was to die for, the table was beautiful and I was
hap-hap-happy to be right where I belonged.
Lesson learned. As an added bonus I now
have a round trip ticket to use within a year. Oh the places I could go. All I
know is that I will not be going over a holiday!