Maybe more than any other place, that altar is home.
Just now, I can place myself at that altar in my mind and find a spirit of gratitude rising up to meet me.
I am thankful for my daughter.
I’m thankful for the spirit of her, the humor, the wisdom, the beauty.
I’m thankful I got to raise her and thankful that every year my joy has increased as her life has unfolded.
I am thankful for rows upon rows of good memories, of that fierce melody she hummed when her toddler mind was constructing new worlds, of the brilliant turns-of-phrases only a four-year-old could invent, of her strong loyalty to friends, of the common-sense responses that often unlocked the obvious.
I am thankful for her quiet and resolute spirit in times when that was just what was needed – when we walked down a mountain pelted by icy rain, when we moved to Augusta, when each grandparent crossed into the unhindered light of God.
I am thankful that somehow, even though her mama was driven to serve the Church, she clung to Jesus and sanity and made it into adulthood with strong character and a face pointed toward Christ. I am thankful for her spirit, wide enough to hold mercy, to let the best we could do be good enough.
I am thankful to Jesus for holding on to her. I’m thankful for good Christians who helped her feel safe in God’s house. I am thankful for the tenderness of the Church in guarding her spirit and faith.
I’m thankful for her daddy, who taught her by his example what kind of man to look for. And thankful she absorbed what is most important and settled for nothing less than God’s best.
I’m thankful for the ways she loves. For her practical approach to life. For her optimism. For her happy willingness to let God tend to her details.
I am thankful that both her feet are planted firmly on good earth as she prepares to step out into adulthood.
I’m thankful I get to be the mother of this bride and honored to be the one who stands for her when she walks the aisle.
I am bursting with thanks, overflowing with it, because gifts like this are too big to hold, too valuable to hold onto.
Joy. Grace. Thanksgiving. All laid on that altar where my daughter will stand on Saturday as she enters a grand new season of life.