Thursday, November 26, 2009

On Thanksgiving

When I was a freshman in high school, my parents opened our home to 8 immigrants who had just arrived to America from Vietnam. We had a few hours notice before they arrived by plane, with just the clothes on their back. Only Tan, the mom, spoke any English. Her husband and oldest son died trying to escape. Her six children and mother arrived with her.

They came to America for opportunity. They came for a new life.

Through our parish in Gig Harbor, working with St. Nicholas's St. Vincent de Paul Society, they received clothing and items to help them get settled in the States.

They arrived with very few material items, but had hope. Even with the immense loss suffered when they left their country.

Mike and I learned about what it was like to truly have nothing.

Over the next few years, each of the older children (who were in their late teens and early 20s) planted roots in Seattle and across the United States, and Tan transplanted herself around the country as well. Her very youngest, Lisa, born after arriving in America, was baptized and my parents were her godparents. And my parents invited her out to celebrate with our family.

Tonight, Lisa celebrated her very first "traditional" Thanksgiving...with turkey, gravy, cranberries, potatoes, and corn. She is now a sophomore in high school, studying economics, volunteering, and getting into the swing of things as she adjusts to moving back to Washington state a few months ago. An incredibly accomplished young woman.

On the drive to the Harbor, she taught me some good slang in Mandarin Chinese. I suppose that's easy to do when she can speak six languages. And I love that Jonathan was teaching her Japanese when we were driving her home tonight. Who would have thought?

It's so incredible to see what her family - her mom, her brothers and sisters, and her as well - have done in the land of opportunity.

So grateful to live in a country with our freedoms. So grateful for that freedom, and those who defend it each day with their lives. So grateful to be able to celebrate this morning at Mass, to have the freedom to choose our own religion and how we practice. So grateful to not fear for my safety each day. So grateful to God, who has blessed us with everything we have.

A fabulous Thanksgiving, indeed.

Lisa and Jonathan:

Thomas, the turkey. He survived the chopping block to live to see another day.

See that face? Jonathan's trying to tell me something.

Can you guess what international symbol this is?

It's Sprouffskesean for "Thomas needs to be changed."

So good to see my cousin Ben and his roommate.

Thomas loved his first food coma - turkey, potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn casserole, and pumpkin cake. No cranberries, though, they had Jack Daniels in them. :) Mmmm....

Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

We truly have so much to be thankful for.

No comments:

Link Within

Blog Widget by LinkWithin