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Linda Nidiffer

“We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing.” I wonder how many times I sang that hymn in the little white Methodist church near Kingsford Heights, Indiana. Methodist church you are probably wondering.  My religious background has had many people wondering so get in line. My mother was raised as an Orthodox Jew.  Her mother was very strict and mom rebelled. My dad was a fallen away Catholic as a result of a priest stealing the church funds and running away with the church secretary. My parents were the outcasts of the family since neither was religious and their siblings were.  When we moved to the farm mom heard that the children’s program at the Methodist church were very good and different neighbors faithfully made sure that Esther, my beloved older sister, and I went to church and Sunday school. My mother never stepped inside the church once—she could not get over her early religious training, but she and dad chaperoned many trips to the lake, baked many a cake and sent regular donations.  One June 16, 1967 they hosted a big bonfire and cookout. I remember the date because on June 17,my sister Lisa was born!

As we head into Thanksgiving that old time hymn rattles around in my head and I am so grateful for it. It brings back so many childhood memoriesincluding my ecumenical religious education which laid the foundation for tolerance of others’ beliefs. I even understand some of their beliefs and I have learned to never ever try to shake someone’s tree of faith. Faith is faith.  There is no logical explanation for faith, just like there is no logical explanation for love. It just is. But I digress, what am I thankful for during these trying and uncertain times?

I am grateful for my husband, Tom, who has shared my life’s journey since 1965; we have had an exceptional trip.  I am thankful for the health of my family. I guess that I should be grateful for family in the first place.  How many of us don’t have that? I am thankful for friends who like me and put up with me and my crazy ways. I am thankful to be living in a beautiful neighborhood and in a comfortable home with the ability to put food on the table. I am grateful to be living in the United States. Having traveled outside of the country I have seen how others live and quite frankly, there is no place like home. I am grateful that I can read and write. Reading has given me a lifetime of pleasure and writing is a relatively new thing that gives me a little thrill. I am grateful that I can still knit! It is a skill that my sister Esther taught me when we were kids and it gives me great pleasure to knit for others. I am grateful for our two juvenile delinquent cats who make us laugh every day. I am grateful to be old!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope that I can get that hymn out of my head soon.