A Personal Thanksgiving

Wishing you all a day surrounded by family and friends, a day of full stomachs and full hearts. ~ Rabbi Daniel & Susan Lapin

This Thanksgiving post (originally published November 2014) reminds me that God’s hugs are all around us. The more we look for them, the more of them we will feel.

I try to be grateful every day, but Thanksgiving offers the opportunity to take a step back and focus on some things that are worth a second ‘thank you.’ Last April, my husband and I moved from the house where we lived for twenty-two years and into a new geographic location and home. The impetus for the move was being closer to our children and while we won’t have everyone with us around the Thanksgiving table, we joyously expect sixteen family members with no one having to set foot in an airport.

Deciding to make a huge move, as we did, is daunting. There were many reasons to maintain the status quo, among them good friends, a gorgeous neighborhood and thousands of books that would need culling. As it turned out, God’s Hand became so evident that we never actually decided to move; somehow, we were just doing it.

One guided step along the way took place when we began exploring what to do with the over three decades of married acquisitions.  Added to that was mountains of stuff accumulated during the years we raised and homeschooled seven children. While most of our belongings were well loved and not so gently used, we hoped to sell some of them with the rest forming donation and garbage piles. For this task, we placed an ad to see if we could find someone to take charge of that process for us.

After our first interviewee bailed, in walked a young man whose knowledge of furniture and electronics belied his youthful appearance. For two hours, I showed Justin around the house while he took copious notes. As we were saying goodbye, for some reason that I can’t explain, I remembered a piece of art that we had received as a wedding gift and that had remained in a closet since that time.

“Do you by any chance know anything about art work?” I asked.

“Actually, I do. My grandfather, William Cassius Goodloe, was an artist and I learned a great deal from him.”

At that point, I literally started shaking. William Cassius Goodloe, who passed away years ago, was indeed an artist. However, he was better known as a Washington State Supreme Court Justice. In our house, he was best known as one of my husband’s closest friends and as a deeply beloved poetry and art mentor to our young brood.

I quickly ran and retrieved an item I hadn’t shown the young man because I wouldn’t dream of selling it. It was Justice Goodloe’s leather art bag, with his hand painted Northwest scene on the side.  He had given it to our children for their supplies. When Justin saw it, he became visibly emotional.

A few minutes later, Justin was the proud recipient of his grandfather’s bag (the next week he reciprocated, presenting us with one of the Judge’s paintings) and we not only placed the disposal of our unwanted belongings in his hands but he also organized our entire move, loading, driving the truck and unloading with his own crew.

This serendipitous meeting was only one in a string of “coincidences” that led to our move, making it a truly blessed one. This year, it is one of the many kindnesses for which we give thanks.

What do you think? We’d love to hear your thoughts on this Susan’s Musings post.
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