10 Questions for the Thanksgiving Table

This story from TED has flown around Facebook this week and it was perfect for a blog post. I love StoryCorps and regularly cry every Friday morning as Dave Isay and his crew produce a lovely story of family, love, change, forgiveness, and/or compassion. What a perfect way to reflect for this Thanksgiving day.

What are you grateful for?

I am so grateful for community. For friendships that have carried the weight of my pain these last five weeks. A community built of family, friends, neighbors, and strangers that have provided comfort, support, love, prayers, food, gifts to lift my spirits, and patience as I navigate this new road.

What are you proudest of?

I am proud that I have been willing to take the road less traveled at various points in my life so far. That the control freak who was afraid of change has lived in six states, driven across country four times, completed an Ironman, and learned to eat the occasional mushroom. Every place I’ve been has allowed me to come into the presence of amazing humans, art, nature, animals, and my footprints have been left in a lot of fox holes.

What’s been the happiest moment of your life so far?

Finishing Ironman. Not just because it was a lot of training and I was glad it was over but because it was the metaphor for my life’s journey. Through it I healed, became stronger, and met the love of my life.

What’s been the hardest moment of your life, and how did you get through it?

It’s right now. I’m getting through it with prayer, coffee, and the amazing community I mentioned above.

What are the most important lessons you’ve learned in life?

Life is a gift. I don’t say that in a hallmark way. I say it because the time spent on earth is fleeting and we have a unique opportunity to “suck the marrow of life.”

Change is also a gift. It makes us feel alive and constantly allows us to improve.

Love should be given out like water and oxygen. We can’t survive without giving AND receiving it.

How would you describe yourself as a child? Were you happy?

I was a PITA! My strong willed self was a challenge to all adults in my path; I’m sorry! But yes, I was happy. I have amazing parents who afforded me so many incredible experiences as a child. I also learned to fail and get up again, after a bowl of Breyers mint chocolate chip, of course.

Who has been kindest to you?

Angela and Maralyn may duke it out for the world’s most compassionate and giving souls. (I hope this doesn’t hurt the feelings of my other amazing friends and family.)

How do you want to be remembered?

As someone who loved God, family, and wanted to make the world a kinder place for children and all living things.

If your great great grandchildren could listen to this years from now: is there any wisdom you’d want to pass on to them? What would you want them to know?

See my life lessons above. Oh, and Micah 6:8

If you could honor one person in your life — living or dead — by listening to their story, who would that be, what would you ask them and why?

Mom, who is quite living! I would want to know where she developed her amazing sense of forgiveness. I hope that I am a reflection of the love and patience and forgiveness that she has bestowed on me for 36 years. I want to know her source.

Happy Thanksgiving, Friends.

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2 thoughts on “10 Questions for the Thanksgiving Table

  1. annakatherinebarton November 27, 2014 / 4:42 am

    I am humbled! And I will need to think about the source(s) of my forgiving nature. Certainly my strong belief that forgiveness, reconciliation, and redemption are a critical part of love, which is to me God’s purpose for humanity. I will ponder this and say more later! 😍

  2. annakatherinebarton November 27, 2014 / 6:24 am

    I am humbled and excited that you hold my “sense of forgiveness” as an honored trait. Where did it come from? I believe that God’s purpose for us is Love in all its various manifestations. Forgiving is a critical part of that purpose, along with the Micah requirements of Justice, Mercy, and Humility (and patience and kindness and….) . On a practical note, I think I have spent a lifetime learning and growing toward this purpose. This includes a fair amount of therapy where I learned to forgive and value myself; Bible study that includes identifying with all the characters in the reading; book discussion groups (Cost of Discipleship and many others); Education for Ministry program, CenterPoint Jungian studies; a workshop titled “Addiction to Perfection” wherein we focused on loving God with ALL our heart, soul, mind, and strength… worshipping in loving communities and being challenged by insightful sermons; striving to live out our baptismal covenant; and searching for my center. To be centered and to move forward, I need not to be burdened by holding grudges, hatred, etc. So I strive for a reconciling path when I can. Not perfect by a long shot, but I do strive. Happy to talk with you more on this! Love you!

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