It is the day before Thanksgiving and I am gearing up for my food prep schedule. Went over the menu last night and it passed muster with one of our more discerning guests. The next issue is the timing of the feast between football games – although I think we got that covered with apps and all that stuff.
I love Thanksgiving. It is everyone’s holiday. You don’t have to go back to the saga of the Pilgrims and Native Americans. You don’t have to buy into the Norman Rockwell painting of an idealized gathering with an impeccable bird and “perfect” all American family. We are more diversified than that and maybe always were. I love that no one seems to be complaining in his picture. Everyone is happy and in my mind no one is standing in a line or camping out in the parking lot of some mall in order to get the best Black Friday deals some of which now begin on Thanksgiving itself.
Some corporate team probably made the decision that jumping the gun to open Thursday night would bring in more money. I feel badly for the people, who have to stock the shelves, work the cash register and say, “Welcome to Walmart” (or whatever the store). I liked it better when Thanksgiving was a commercial free zone and we could concentrate on giving thanks for what we have not what we want. In my language, we are losing the sense of the sacred. Or maybe the sacred can no longer last a whole day. And we can moan and bewail the state of our society or we can go with what is and celebrate without judgment.
This is what I mean by the sacred: when I feel connected to something outside of myself – my spouse, family, friend, a tree, a bush, a flowing stream, a child learning how to crawl, the smile of a stranger passing by, the night sky, the universe within, God. When my heart announces itself with a sense of warmth, affection, love. When I know it beats not just for my survival but so that I can do good and make that proverbial difference, no matter how little, how big.
So I am thankful today and try to be everyday. But the truth is it is easy to forget and just get up in the morning, brush your teeth, figure out what’s for breakfast, check your calendar and you are off and running. Thanksgiving focuses me and I try to appreciate the blessings of family, of food, of love. It focuses me and I give thanks for this wonderful and flawed country we call home. I think especially how many challenges we have before us in this dangerous world we are trying to share. I think of the Thanksgiving metaphor and how as Americans we need to pull together to face this newly darkened tomorrow. We have done so in the past and I pray we can find a way to gather around the same table and bless each other again.
The Rockwell painting above is called: “Freedom from Want”. May we all be so blessed.