Shannon Philpott-Sanders

Writing, Reflecting, Teaching, Parenting

The Long Road to Thanksgiving

Six years ago, it seemed like my world was falling apart. I was newly single, struggling with the stigma that accompanied divorce; I was working three jobs to make ends meet and provide the basics for my children; and I was finishing up my degree, with hopes of a better life – all while mentally struggling to make sense of a new lifestyle as a single mom.

At the time, one of my jobs as a reporter for a small religious newspaper put me in daily contact with people who sacrificed themselves for others without a second thought. They truly knew the meaning of giving. Ironically, though, during my bout of self-pity, all I could see was the devastating reality I was living.

As Thanksgiving rolled around, it was difficult for me to truly reflect on my blessings until one person changed my life with a subtle action.

In my rush to leave for the day to pick up my kids from day care, a woman from the diocesan office stopped me in the hallway. “Where are you parked?” she asked. “I have something for you.” Thinking the “something” was work related, I met her in the parking lot and opened my trunk.

 She stood, looking at me for what seemed like an eternity, and then tearfully said, “I know that times are tough right now. We just want you to know that you’re not alone – we’re always here for you.” At that point, she put two food baskets in my car, hugged me, and drove away.

 I stood in that parking lot for a long time. I wasn’t sure how to feel – grateful that she thought of me, embarrassed that I needed the help, blessed to have the support of my church community, or guilty that I received something many others needed more. I was a giant ball of emotions while trying to make sense of what had just happened.

 Her actions were subtle, yet powerful. She not only provided my family with something we needed, she showed me that blessings come from the people in your life – those that don’t always know you well, but those who are willing to nurture the very core of you when you need it the most.

 More than those two baskets of food, I needed someone to acknowledge my struggles and help me see that others were struggling much more than I was. Just as I did back then, I currently have a supporting family, wonderful friends and co-workers, and two precious children to be thankful for – gifts that others are not fortunate enough to have.

 Not a Thanksgiving has gone by where I don’t think of this moment and thank God for the true blessings I have. But this year, I’m especially thankful for the subtle gestures from others that led me from a period of self-pity six years ago to a road of thanksgiving.


– Shannon Philpott
Blog Entry: Nov. 26, 2009

 © Shannon Philpott, 2009. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Shannon Philpott and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


November 26, 2009 - Posted by | Blog, Parenting, Reflecting | , , , , , ,

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