Yesterday, thirty five children boarded a school bus in Tennessee and six of them were killed when the bus hit a tree. Six children. It's Thanksgiving this week and six families are planning funerals as the world reminds them to be thankful.
Thankful. To give thanks. Thankful for our many blessings. What about these families? What about the families and community who are waking up this morning, feeling that crushing awareness that certainly must be a bad dream. It's not though and they are just beginning the path of grief that will stretch for years to come and forever change the meaning of "Thanksgiving."
My favorite dictionary, Webster's, offers the simple definition of thankful as being glad that something has happened or not happened, that something or someone exists, etc. and expressing thanks. Perhaps we can be reminded to be thankful for those that exist in our family, those that we don't agree with necessarily or see often, but be thankful for their very lives.
It's taken a long time to voice the thankfulness for my own big brother, the person I adore that ceases to exist and most profoundly altered my life. As time has manifested, it is his life that has affected me more than his most sorrowful death and I am so thankful for the time and memories that have weighted the scale in my favor.
This year will be a wash I expect for those Chattanooga families and a grieving community. They remind me to be thankful for my family and the little people I call my own who awoke this morning, smiling and arguing, and headed off to school. I will await the school bus this afternoon and say a prayer of thanksgiving and healing for those who will not be waiting.