There’s gratitude… and then there’s gratitude

This weekend has been a whirlwind of family and fun. We didn’t travel this year, but hosted everyone here in Raleigh. My parents took the lion’s share of sleeping arrangements and everyone spent Thanksgiving Day at our house. All weekend I would see little glimpses of things, sparks really, that were memories of my own childhood.

All the nieces and nephews are older now. They aren’t kids. They don’t need plastic plates or sippy cups. They’re like, real people! That was a major shift from last year for me. I don’t know that much really changed in just one year. Maybe it wasn’t them at all, but just the way I see them.

Yes. I think that is it. Because I was the youngest of the family. And even when there were kids around, I was still the youngest adult. This is no longer true.

Jerry often jokes that I am 35 because I am “in my 35th year” (I am 34 btw). And I certainly know that 34 or even 35 or any number of years beyond that isn’t considered OLD. Still, there’s something to be said for that distance from singledom and college life. There is a shift. For a while, it’s just been that I am learning how to be the mom and the wife and the teacher. But there’s more. I am learning (always learning) to be the daughter and the sister and the Aunt.

We went to a different church to see my dad preach yesterday. The whole family was in attendance, which in an of itself was special. But after years of learning in my Father’s church and then years of learning in Vintage21, I felt like I was listening with new ears.

You know how when your parents or grandparents tell stories sometimes, you sort of fall into line? I’m not sure how to describe it. But after so many years you hear the words and you know where they will take you. Even if you don’t know the end of the story, you do and you make your judgments based on what you think you will hear based on a lifetime of listening.

I’ve often wished I could go back in time to interview my mom’s dad. He was truly one of a kind. A farmer. Gentle. Strong. And I really don’t know much at all about his childhood. Or how he decided to become a Christ follower. Or why he respected education so much in the 60s that he refused to let my mom marry my dad until she graduated college. I don’t know about his political leanings. But I do know that in the 20 years my Grandmother lived after his passing, she never once removed her wedding rings.

And I think about these things. And I get a little sad and wish I could know the answers. How did I get so blessed to be included in this heritage? And I am so grateful.

And so when I sat listening to my own Father yesterday, I thought my goodness. What a treasure. This man, who has spent his entire life trying to love Jesus. To know and do His will. To teach it to his children and grandchildren, not in a way that is simply habit forming, but in truth. He created critical hearts and minds in us to really dig deep and learn the true meanings of the bible. And he taught it by doing it himself. Even more, he’s not trying to be right. He’s trying to understand.

This is what I saw. And it was rather humbling. Sort of like removing a painting from the wall and finding a million dollars taped to the back. You always admired the painting, but really had no idea of its value. And I realized that I still have so very much to learn.

There’s gratitude. And then, there’s gratitude.


  1. Mary-Hurst-Mattia says

    Very insightful ….You truly have wonderful parents, and to know it yourself is a gift to both you and them.
    On Thanksgiving , Steve had old videos up on a screen and we watched them while preparing the meal etc …every so often someone would call out,” OMG come watch this,” and all would run to see which event was being resurrected thru the magic of film…One was of Brittany at less then a year old and me trying to help her ride a toy…as soon as I would let go she would topple off the toy ..giggle and we’d start over…..most of my 21 grandchildren were there watching their own baby antics and then I watched time march on to school based events…college graduations and weddings and births…It touched me more then usual … You mentioned your age in your article which reminded me… I was only 39yrs old in that video of me and my first grandgirl and now she has 3 babies of her own and made me a “great” grandmother at 61 yrs…..and like you I had flashbacks of our familys GOOD times, family dinners,vacations(Roan MT),Holidays, our Maranatha family,the services and fun times, the many Fun Times and some very Sad times,we all grew up together in the spirit! So as I looked around that room on Thanksgiving,at the many blessings God has given me, I felt I did my best to teach them to KNOW,LOVE,and SERVE GOD…. But from here on out it’s up to them to walk out their lives … I just wanted to let you know that all the years our families (yours and mine) spent together I am truly grateful for…..and I also have gratitude for all your family did to help our family …your parents were my example of what a Christian family should be …. What a Husband and Wife should be to each other…I have stumbled many times but they loved me through it all , teaching me howthe unconditional love ofJesus works, through their example.
    They did an outstanding job raising their 3 lovely daughters AND the Hurst family(inc.the parents) at the same time….I love you Andy …. Mary

    • Andrea says

      Thank you so much for your comment Mary It means so much to me and I am sure my parents, when they see it. The further away from my childhood I get, the more I realize how profoundly amazing it was. The connections we have that have lasted (and will last) lifetimes. I am so happy that we are all able to connect even all spread out as we are. And boy would I love to see those home movies!! Love you too <3

  2. says

    I love this post. Isn’t it such a blessing to have a heritage you are proud of, one that makes you want to be a better person, to be worthy of it, I guess?

    I love this: “he’s not trying to be right. He’s trying to understand.” If we could ALL be like that, what a nice place this world would be! :-)
    Jo-Lynne {Musings of a Housewife}´s last blog post ..Daily Mom Style 11.28.12

    • Andrea says

      Ack! I just found this in my spam! So glad I saw it. Thanks so much and I so agree with you. I definitely have some pretty big shoes to fill :)

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