You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have loosed my sackcloth and girded me with gladness, That my soul may sing praise to You and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks to You forever. Psalm 30:11-12 (NASB)
I am posting a little later today because I was out shopping at the time I normally post the blog. Today is Black Friday for those of you who are blissfully ignorant of that fact. Black Friday is the day we all (or those of us with less common sense and less real cents) head out in an attempt to get the best possible deal on the items our loved ones wish to receive for Christmas gifts.
This is the first Black Friday I have participated in for the past 2 years and it was a very big milestone for me. For as long as I can remember Mom and I shopped on the day after Thanksgiving. I think we began in 1983, and it was our favorite private tradition. While I have 2 sisters, it was just Mom and I each year and we loved every minute of it.
The picture below is of my Mom on the last Christmas we were able to shop, Black Friday, 2007. This was a particular blessing because she almost died early that fall and I was not sure she would be up to going. It was shorter than all the previous years but we did it! She could not see much, needed constant oxygen flow, and I had to push her on her walker chair much of the time but we enjoyed ourselves a lot.
Black Friday of the following year it was clear she was going no place. As we privately discussed the reality of Mom's major decline I recall my Dad telling me that I would have to do the shopping without Mom that year, and I sadly shook my head "no" and tried to hold back my tears. I couldn't do it...I couldn't go...not alone...
I knew those days were over and I was not emotionally prepared to pretend I was alright with the changes that were taking place. It would have been a lie anyway, because I was anything but alright with it all. Mom passed into glory just about 6 weeks later, shortly after the new year began.
As last Thanksgiving approached my heart was full of dread. As a family we were approaching the last of the "firsts" and for me the thought of Black Friday was an enormous hurt. It was my first Thanksgiving without my Dad and siblings as we now live in Missouri, and of course Mom was gone too. I recall Larry really encouraging me to go, and I did make a brave attempt to go out on Friday morning, but my heart was so very heavy with grief that I didn't get very far. I went halfway there and turned around and came home, crying all the way.
Now, another Thanksgiving is over and today was the day to shop. I began a new tradition. God greatly blessed me with my daughters-in-law who went out with me this morning. Anne is very organized and knew just where all the things were that we wanted to purchase, and Danielle is the very energized and excited one. I found myself thinking what my Mom must have thought all those years when I was the combined Anne and Danielle...I am grateful.
I enjoyed myself very much this morning and didn't grieve one little bit for the past; and like Naomi, I can now smile at the future. While I will especially miss Mom on this day always and forever, He has made me glad.
For You, O LORD, have made me glad by what You have done... Psalm 92:4a (NASB)