Posted by: Lindsey Albertson | December 1, 2008

December Newsletter

When I think of past Thanksgivings, things that come to mind are:
Tracing my hand and making a turkey out of it in school…driving to High Point, NC where my family lives…spending the night with grandparents and getting to watch Nickelodeon (we didn’t have cable at my house)…eating tons of good food…not having to go to school… hanging garland on the fence at my grandparent’s house…trying to get good deals at the mall on Black Friday (yes, my family goes out in this craziness).

Something that doesn’t come to mind is actually being thankful. I have always taken for granted the fact that I have a family who loves me, a roof over my head, and food in my stomach. Almost everyone I have ever been around has also had these things. These things are there when needed. Anytime my stomach growls I grab something to eat. Anytime I am cold, I grab a blanket or coat or turn up the heat. This Thanksgiving was different. I spent it with people who don’t take these things for granted.

This year was my first Thanksgiving away from home. It was very different for me. My friend Candace from NC came up to spend a few days with me in Louisville. The fact that someone came all that way to spend Thanksgiving with me made me feel loved. God has been showing me lately the blessings that he has given me of friends and family who love and care for me.

On Thanksgiving morning we both woke up early and went to the shelter to work. When we arrived, some people gave holiday greetings. To others it was just another day. I greeted people as I worked at the front desk and asked if they had any plans for Thanksgiving. A few were going to a family member’s house to eat later, but most said no.

For those who have family, friends and food Thanksgiving is an exciting time to celebrate and eat. But I guess if you do not have those things, there is not as much to get excited about. To a lot of folks at the shelter, it seemed to be just another day. Throughout the day I asked people what they were thankful for. One lady told me she was thankful to be able to spend the day eating good food at the shelter and be with her friends here. Someone else told me how they felt more love from their friends on the streets than from their family. One thing that almost everyone said was “Another day”. They were thankful for the simplest thing, the thing that most of us don’t even think twice about. Another day.

For dinner, a married couple named James and Martha who were formerly homeless invited us over to their house for dinner. My teammate Kerry, Candace, and I prepared some side dishes. This was also my first time preparing something for a Thanksgiving meal. We made broccoli casserole, banana croquettes, and corn. When everything was ready we headed over to James and Martha’s apartment to eat. They had a turkey and other sides prepared. It all looked amazing. We thanked God for each other and the food and then ate. We sat around and talked and enjoyed each other. We talked about the things that we were thankful for and Martha talked about how she was thankful to have a place to live after being homeless for so long.

As I sat there eating and talking, I began to think about the people I was sitting with and how we all came from different places. Two folks who used to live out in a tent for seven years, one who lived in Africa for four years, one who just graduated college, and one school teacher all sitting around the table together eating Thanksgiving dinner. I definitely experienced the Thanksgiving holiday in a different way this year.

I guess what I am trying to get across through all of this is not only how different this was for me, but how we should all be thankful. Even though you may never meet the folks that I mention in newsletters, there is a lot that we have to learn from them. One thing is how we so often take things for granted. A lot of the things that we are blessed with, we don’t even think twice about having when so many other people are without. James 1:17 says, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” I pray that this would be something that we would all recognize. God has created everything and everything we have is his. All we have is a gift. Every thing and every day. I pray that we would become more aware of this and be thankful. But more than that, being thankful for what we have and at the same time helping those who have not.

Lindsey Albertson

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