Here it is, the Sunday before Thanksgiving. Like many Sundays before Thanksgiving, I will be packing for a road trip. But in some ways, it is so different this year:
--Only part of our family will gather at the ramshackle house at the Lutheran church camp where we have gathered since the early 90's. Some of my family members have unvaccinated children: some of them are coming, and some aren't. The older adults are vaccinated and boosted, so we're coming.
--That's the largest difference, of course. We are about to enter year 3 of the pandemic. Two years ago, we had no idea we were about to enter year 1. We've had family members unable to attend in the past, but never for this reason.
--Two years ago was the last time we all gathered. At that point, I was about to start a certificate program in spiritual direction. Now I am about to finish that program, and I've started a seminary program.
--Two years ago, I had decided against seminary, at least for the foreseeable future. So what happened? I found a dream program in Theology and the Arts at Wesley Theological Seminary, and as I realized my job was likely to end by the end of the year, I moved forward with applying, both to seminary and for candidacy in my religious denomination, and I was accepted. As we move towards Thanksgiving, I'm also moving towards finishing the first semester of seminary. Lots of moving in this chunk of text, which I'm leaving here intentionally.
--We will be leaving from our condo that we're renting. Our house that we own is still on the market, under contract, with hopes that we will be done with the sale by the end of the year.
--Two years ago, we would not have dreamed that we would be putting the house on the market in late 2021. The housing market is so white hot right now that we decided we didn't want to miss out; we have missed out on white hot markets before, and we've felt regrets. If you view your house as one of your investments, and if you live in a volatile market like South Florida, you must consider these things.
--I am thinking of all the people who are no longer here, both people who have moved away and people who have died. I am also trying not to sink into depression over this.
Much will remain the same. Our family Thanksgiving menu doesn't change much from year to year, and the kitchen is rudimentary, so the fact that we don't demand gourmet options is a gift. We will have lots of down time, and maybe a trek to find apples. Will the Wal-Mart still hold the same fascination, now that the children are older? We will have grading to do, but there will still be time to read. We will cherish the time to be together; we've always known we won't always have this gift, but the past 2 years have driven that point home.