November 25th, 2021 falls on the last Thursday of November in the Pacific Northwest (PNW.) Actually, everywhere in our world that uses the same calendar finds the same date on the same Thursday. But, that is NOT what this blog posting is all about.
I am thankful! I love Thanksgiving! It is my favorite religious holiday because there is no religion and fewer expectations of “gift giving.” The “gift” is that you can sometimes find yourself sitting at a table or, perhaps, in a room with people you love or care about and maybe share time, maybe some food, and LOVE. There has been a long history which allows this date and celebration to be special, for me (and possibly for you too.)
My Mother celebrated her birthday on November 25th and it was usually celebrated at our Thanksgiving family table. My younger son was born on November 30th (not December 7th, “Pearl Harbor Day,” as suggested during my wife’s prenatal care.) So, we double celebrated birthdays. My family had a long tradition of inviting people to join us for the celebration of Thanksgiving. Often these were family or close friends but also included people who did not have family nearby to celebrate this holiday with. (My very best Thanksgivings have been when friends circled the table and everyone “wanted” to be there. No family “expectations.”) The holiday was based around a turkey dinner which is a weird American tradition which I love. I love roast turkey and stuffing and mashed potatoes, and I knew these were going to be available at our family’s meal. In fact, I learned how to prepare this meal and taught my boys how to create these dinner foods, which has made all of us very popular in a low confidence cook’s opinion (my wife loved when I cooked and suffer from cooking anxiety for larger events.) There are many great family stories built around cooking for the family for this celebration. (Yes, even shrunken, micro-waved birds and getting stuck in elevators, and more…)
Then there is the gift, to me, of sharing Gratitude in the lives of the people gathered. The time of reflection on the Gifts of our lives is time well spent. Sharing these gratitudes is a full contact sport that nicely massages the mind, the emotions, and the Spirit. This can take 2-5 hours at 350 degrees of sharing to fully cook, if you use traditional recipes. Again, time well spent. The creation of the meal, the gathering of your loved ones, the sharing of the contributed foods and stories are parts of what makes this celebration so special and beautiful for me. Not everyone gets to get their “expectations” fully met but if we can find our way in to the present moment and dive deep into appreciation, hearts can be warmed and souls can be sustained.
AND, there are leftovers. Not just food but awesome memories. We can all find and create moments of Gratitude, Appreciation, and shared Love that do not just fit around a Thanksgiving table or end when we travel home. So, consider the gifts and the service YOU can provide to make this a loving and most memorable holiday. And, sure there can be grief from the losses we have experienced but these can make a sweetness in full appreciation of what we do have, what we have had, and what we have learned from the difficult challenges encountered in life.
If she had lived, my mom would be roughly 114 years old this Thursday, give or take the years she lied about her age and actual birthdate. Where possible, reach out and hold hands with your loving memories, your beloved family, and most wonderful friends. Even if you do this only in your mind AND then, Go Out and Do Good in our World.
You are a Miracle! You are a Blessing! Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for Being You!
With My Love…