That Time Hemophilia Came for Thanksgiving
Some years ago, when my youngest son, “MacDonald the Younger,” was about 7, he had an internal bleed into his right knee just before Thanksgiving. I was scheduled to lead a “Thanks Living” service that Tuesday, but we quickly realized we would be celebrating the holiday in a hospital room. Our hearts sank.
Still, it was important to me and my wife to show our children that it was important to remain thankful, whatever the circumstance. The most important part of the season was in the gathering together; the location didn’t have to rob us of our joy. Don’t get me wrong; I love the Thanksgiving meal with all my heart and stomach, but what I need more than anything is my family. I need them as much as I need air. I knew even a hospital room could be a place to celebrate milestones and reinforce the bonds that keep us together.
My wife and I reminded our sons that we must remain hopeful even in the darkest of times. The MacDonald family would take a few minutes to give thanks for each other and offer up prayers for our future hopes, even as hemophilia and the promise of a lengthy hospital stay interrupted our plans.
But remarkably, the weekend before this holiday saw drastic improvements in my youngest son’s health. By the Tuesday of the worship service I would lead, the medical team let us to go home with an intravenous line (IV) to infuse clotting factor into his body.
We couldn’t believe our good fortune, that we would be able to celebrate Thanksgiving at home. “Huzzah,” I said silently to myself.
Within an hour, we had left the hospital, got to church, set my son up in my office, and started worship. My boy required medicine through the IV every hour, but because I’m an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church, I needed to lead the Communion celebration. So my loving spouse and I decided to tag team the service. She led the first part and I took over at the midway point. We were both able to tend to him and pulled it off without a glitch.
Looking back on that holiday makes me realize that we MacDonald folk must have tough stuff in our DNA. We held to the power of positive thinking and adapted to each situation joyfully. But we also kept in mind that the most crucial part of the holiday was in the gathering together, no matter where we gathered, even if it meant celebrating the holiday in a hospital. When love finds a place to make itself known, one discovers that any setting can become a sacred space.
I wish everyone a very happy season, filled with great food and family. No matter the circumstances, hope can spring forth in the strangest of places. May we all experience the blessings with those we love through this extraordinary time of year. From the MacDonald home, happy Thanksgiving.
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