It’s overcast at the cottage this morning. It was a spur of the moment decision to come up here late yesterday. One minute we were sitting on the bed folding laundry talking about this year’s brilliant fall colours. Twenty minutes later we were on the road.

The last thing I threw in my bag on the way out the door was my podcast journal. I woke up early today with a million thoughts about Thanksgiving and family and loss and acceptance and making peace with what is.

Thanksgiving weekend is forever associated with the sudden loss of my brother 26 years ago. The other day, I realized that I’ve now lived exactly half of my life without him here somewhere under heaven. I can’t easily explain the relationship we’ve had since he left. I can only say that 26-year-old me could not have fathomed the gift he would be to me. Alive or not.

As such a loss does, his death forever changed our family. It changed us as individuals. As has the more recent loss of our mother. And while I have made peace with these losses, I’ve had an unexpectedly hard time accepting that nothing about family has been the same since. I opened the podcast journal to write something about that this morning. But instead, I ended up reading what has essentially become the repository of my own wounds and healing over the last year.

We all revisit old wounds sometimes. The mind walks into the same old room because it wants to know how to fix the floorboards, or how to paint those walls. We want to try something different that might make these wounds into more habitable places. We revisit the worst stories we’ve ever owned because that’s how we learn to live through the pain.

It reminds me of the way that birds come back to the places where their nests have been destroyed. As if facing it once more will somehow change something. And such visiting does gradually change things. Perspectives. Hearts. Minds.

As I get older, I think what I realize more and more is that time doesn’t heal all wounds. Not on it’s own. Not without a lot of hard work. And there will be things in life that will always hurt or be tender.

Those things show us where there is still work to do. They remind us that we’re all gorgeously human. Imperfect. Flawed. (And fabulous). And for me, they’ve unveiled a new story about unconditional love. And that is that love is just love. It doesn’t need any adjectives. It doesn’t require the condition of perfection. It only requires that we show up. And that we do the best we can.

On this particular Canadian Thanksgiving weekend, I’m thankful to know that in my bones. And I’m thankful to be sitting here watching the river roll past. We’re warm. There’s a donut, a London Fog and a fat book within reach. Merle Haggard is on satellite radio. Charlene is crocheting a work of art that literally looks like a happiness explosion. Which, I realize, is very much how I feel about this life most of the time.

Beautiful and terrible things will happen in this life. Through it all, you will be the beginning and ending of your own peace.

Find The MeaningMaker Podcast on any streaming platform or join us @ the_meaning_maker_podcast on Instagram or at Meaning Maker on Facebook.

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