I am grateful

Pasha stands looking out the window as we prepare for Thanksgiving dinner, 2007

Pasha stands looking out the window as we prepare for Thanksgiving dinner, 2007

“I am grateful for the beauty in the midst of suffering. I am grateful for the treasure hunt through the minefield of life.  Dangerous or not, I don’t want out of the minefield.  Because truth, and beauty , and God are there.”Glennon Doyle Melton

As I write this, the day before Thanksgiving, Jeff has not yet awakened from the 14+ hours of surgery he endured yesterday.  They had to keep him anesthetized overnight because they knew he would be in the OR again for an emergency procedure this morning (a stent placed to drain a bile leakage from the liver that could result in infection if left untreated).  One of the doctors woke me up in the waiting room this morning, after about 6 hours of sleeping for the first time in two days, to sign a consent form for the procedure.  I am grateful I was there to sign the form.  I am grateful there was a way to solve the immediate problem. I am grateful that this morning’s procedure went “as well as it possibly could have gone,” as the surgeons have just informed me, and grateful for the prayers that will join mine, asking for this complication to heal without further setbacks.

I’m grateful for the many, many doctors from various specialty fields, whose names and cards I can hardly keep track of.  I am grateful for the compassionate nurse who gave me kind and reassuring words, along with much-needed blankets and a pillow so that I could sleep last night on chairs that were pulled together in a waiting room.  I am grateful both my sons are near, sharing my love and anguish for a man we always knew to be remarkable, but had no idea, until now, how truly amazing his strength and endurance are.

Yesterday’s surgery was far more difficult and long than anyone anticipated, due in part to massive scarring from the first liver resection.  Jeff ended up getting seven units of blood (so far) and four units of blood products, and has a long, tough road to recovery ahead.  The surgeons were exhausted and disappointed at the setbacks, but were nonetheless pleased to believe that Jeff is now rid of the cancer and very likely to be among the 8% who survive his particular diagnosis, if he is able to survive the post-surgical risks of the coming days and weeks.

Today, on this day we set aside for the gratitude we can rightly feel every minute of every day, I pray your life is filled with the best kinds of abundance.  As with those who shared the first Thanksgiving meal on which our celebration is based, we all come to the table with a mixed bag of blessings and sorrows, many disappointments, hurts and griefs, but also countless reasons to rejoice.  May we all open our eyes to the providence that surrounds us, making our existence possible.   Happy Thanksgiving!

“I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.”  Psalm 27:13

One year ago today:

Vibrantly alive

This post was first published seven years ago today. The original post, comments and photo are linked, along with two other related posts, below. These links to related posts, and their thumbnail photos, do not appear in the blog feed; they are only visible when viewing the individual posts by clicking on each one. I have no idea why, nor do I know how they choose the related posts. That’s just the way WordPress does things.


  1. Sheila

    Good morning Julia and Matt ☕️ These lovely, unseasonably warm days have lent themselves for much time spent outside. The morning sky is ablaze with magnificent hues of pink. Hunters are lying in wait in the marsh grasses as they await the unsuspecting ducks to fly overhead. I hate to hear the gunfire though. Do you have plans for your birthday weekend? I will be thinking of you, my special friend 🎉💐🎂

    • Hi Sheila, I have a friend visiting from out of town for my birthday (arriving in a few hours) which is more than I typically do for a birthday. Thanks for remembering!

      • That’s so interesting that your birthday is this weekend, and I don’t remember us ever discussing our birthdays. Mine is on Tuesday.

        • How about that! Hope it was happy. 🙂

  2. Good morning, Julia!
    I am praying for you and Matt as you enter this season.
    Blessings on your day!

    • Thank you. I really need the prayers, maybe as much now as ever.

  3. Susan

    I can’t find any words that seem right for this memory, but am sending love and hugs to you, Julia.

    • Thank you, Susan. Sometimes there really are no words! But that’s OK.

  4. mike c.

    Happy BD Julia. Today?

    • No, but close enough. Thanks for the wishes.

  5. MaryAnn

    What a lovely family photo, just needs YOU in it! Early in Nov., I was thinking about your birthday. Today, I’m stating:
    I LOVE YOU & Happy Birthday!

    • Thank you, Mary Ann. I was almost never in any of the photos, I was always the one taking them. Kind of symbolic, as it now seems to me. I was always fairly invisible, though I never realized it until recently. But then, I and many women in my generation were brought up to believe our purpose in life was to support everyone else’s purpose in life. So no wonder the focus was always on everyone else.

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