Last Thanksgiving, in the wake of the news that my marriage was ending, I took the kids to visit with my brother David, his wife Jennifer, and their family in State College, PA. Not only was it great to talk with them, but we also had a wonderful dinner at Jennifer's parents' house in Williamsport. After dinner, David and I took Bobby and his cousin Davey on a walk to the Little League Hall of Fame, just a few blocks from the house.
On the drive home at the end of the weekend I popped in a CD that had come with an issue of Paste magazine Bob had picked up somewhere. It was a compilation of contemporary music that spanned the sort of alt-Americana-singer-songwriter-pop-rock genres I favor. I kept coming back to one song, "All in Good Time" by someone named Ron Sexsmith. I'd heard the name on WFUV but couldn't place him, and in fact always got him mixed up with another singer-songwriter with a similar name, Martin Sexton. As I played the winsome tune over and over, I let the lyrics sink in:
But in these hours of serious doubt
Through the coal black lonely night
Something told me, “it’ll work out”
Something deep inside
Was comforting me
All in good time
the bad times will be gone
I was far from believing that things would ever get better. I didn't see the point in hoping for a future where "it'll work out." I didn't believe "everything happens for a reason," "God has a plan," "something better is in store," or "when a door closes a window opens," or any of that. But still there was something about the combination of Ron's music and voice and optimistic message that stuck, and somehow buoyed me, just for a few minutes. It wasn't until later that I learned that he had gone through a divorce with children himself, and had grown up in a "broken home" after his father left the family. Something struck a chord and I felt the songwriter's voice "deep inside...comforting me" like an old and trusted friend.
This year, Thanksgiving will be different. Bobby is riding to State College with my friend Jeannie and her Boston terrier, Otis, to spend the holiday with his bestest cousin, Davey. Stella will be with Dad and his family, and I'm taking a bus to New Jersey for a peaceful dinner with my Uncle Phil and Aunt Cheryl. And I am thankful for family, for love, for my kids' thriving and having a good time, for quiet time, for the tentative optimism of a new political era in the face of economic woes. I'm thankful that I have been able to keep on, do my job (for the most part), take care of my family, not give up despite very strong urges to do so. Most of all, I'm thankful for the faith that has returned to me, for the people who have been praying for me to get back there, and for the someone who has pointed me back in that direction.