At Thanksgiving I think about the abundance that will be on the table, interacting with family members and the bustle of preparation. I think about pleasing people and pleasing my stomach. I think about symbolism and pleasing tradition while making progress.
I remember Thanksgivings past, the huge table and commotion at Grandma and Grandpa Ireland’s house. I imagine my Grandparents looking in on these words and looking in on us and helping when they can. I’m looking at a photo of them as young adults and I wonder what it was like for them–they must have been almost as responsible as they were when I knew them. I imagine them being much like my brother Jonathan and new sister Dedra setting up business. My grandparents were industrious.
And the holiday’s about giving thanks for the harvest. We have so very much abundance here that it’s a concern that we do not overeat. How fortunate we are. Even very poor people here quite often have enough to eat, although there is much to do to make sure that healthy food is affordable and accessible to everyone.
How can we work our harvest better? By making the healthy stuff more prevalent, by being more ethical in how we grow it and what we consume. By being kinder to Mother Earth so she can provide harvests for us in good health.
Reaching into the gist of the moment, putting my hand into the gist of the moment, what I’d like to do is really make stronger connections. Not to be poignant for poignancy’s sake, but to make progress.
Progress in our relationships–fulfilling the promise of how we thought we were going to be as capable adults now that we are older. Progress in my relationships. So Thanksgiving is not just a time to give thanks, but to show action concerning our thanks. To work on relationships. To use the dividends of our continuing maturity. To be what we can be.
I remember a family meal Smith & I were invited to in Mexico by a serious young man who practiced English with us. He addressed everyone around the table individually and thanked them for how they contributed to his life. This was during a dinner he put together because he was leaving Mexico to be a student in Canada.
I would like to do this at our gatherings, foster this kind of serious joy in recognizing each other’s importance. Perhaps some formality or format helps, even a game? We can foster this.
At Thanksgivings at my Aunt Jan’s and Uncle Jim’s, we have gone around the table and individually articulated what we are thankful for… can we take this opportunity today?