The day after Thanksgiving, for millions of people across the US, is a day marked and remembered as Black Friday. It’s a day when sales are crazy and people are too. For our family, it’s the anniversary of one of the best events of our lives: we moved to Boise.
It was an unexpected move. And even though I was miserable at first, I will always bless the day we made the terrifying drive north from Spanish Fork, UT to the City of Trees.
Now we’ve been here for five years. It’s amazing how the time has flown and how many homes we’ve lived in! We laughed the other day when we realized that we actually reference events according to which street we lived on, rather than what year it was. Four houses in five years will do that to you.
We were so thrilled this year to think that we were going to be able to host Thanksgiving in our forever home. There’s just a different feeling about it.
The last time we cooked a turkey for Thanksgiving was in our first Boise home--the one on Canonero. It was our first turkey attempt ever. All the previous years, we’d spent the holiday either at my parents’ home in Salt Lake or at Rick’s in Springville. We had zero idea of what to do or even where to begin, so of course, we Googled it. That sent us on a journey that included a few days of raw turkey handling, consisting of brining and flipping the cold, slippery, water-and-salt soaked thing at all hours of the day and night. Setting an alarm to wake up at 3 a.m. to turn that pink, bumpy, heavy bird was not something that we cared to repeat. So the following three years, we took the guaranteed-to-be-delicious route and bought the main dish from our local Honey Baked Ham store.
To our dismay and disappointment, this year the Honey Baked Ham store was closed down. Now, I know that the pioneers and pilgrims may have had it harder, but the thought of having to actually cook our own turkey this year sounded like a hardship I wasn’t ready to endure. And there was no way I was setting my alarm to turn a brining turkey. We wanted something quick and easy. And the fact that we still had a mostly frozen turkey the day before Thanksgiving was stressing me out. Once again...enter Google.
Thanks to modern technology and the endless sea of foodies, we found a great recipe that allowed us to slow roast our 23-pounder overnight. The result was deliciously succulent meat that was ready to remove from the oven when we woke up on Thanksgiving morning and was literally falling off its bones. We had already baked the pies the day before and they were being stored in the microwave, safe from our dog’s impressive leap.
This has been a very hard year. One of the toughest we’ve seen. We’ve had trials and setbacks of nearly every kind: house, money, family, health, even faith. But we have seen miracles of every kind too, in every one of those same areas.
Elder Robert Hales taught:
It is not a question of if we are ready for the tests; it is a matter of when. We must prepare to be ready for tests that will present themselves without warning.
We learn to endure to the end by learning to finish our current responsibilities, and we simply continue doing it all of our lives. We cannot expect to learn endurance in our later years if we have developed the habit of quitting when things get difficult now.
There is more to endurance than just surviving and waiting for the end to overtake us. To endure to the end takes great faith.
As we put our faith in the Lord and keep our focus on the eternities, we will be blessed to be able to accept whatever trial we are given, for life on earth, as we know it, is only temporary, and, if we endure it well, the Lord has promised us: “And, if you keep my commandments and endure to the end you shall have eternal life, which gift is the greatest of all the gifts of God”
There is nothing that we are enduring that Jesus does not understand, and He waits for us to go to our Heavenly Father in prayer.
In 2 Nephi Chapter 2, we are reminded by the prophet Lehi that there’s opposition in everything: good vs. evil, life vs. death, abundance vs. famine, happiness vs. sorrow, etc. Without having the downs of life, we wouldn’t be able to appreciate the ups as much. We have had more ups and downs this year than any other, I think. And have sometimes felt how our turkey's carcass looked: empty and stripped of nearly everything good or useful.
Yet, as I think of the trials and difficulties we've faced, I can't help but also remember the blessings that have balanced out the hard stuff, and I remember some wise words from the hymnal and their reminder that, if we remember who’s with us through it all, we will be able to take on whatever opposition comes our way:
So from the beginning the fight we were winning; Thou, Lord, wast at our side.