One afternoon last weekend I came home to find John reading a book called “This is the Turkey” with the girls. They had gone to the library to check out holiday books – jonesing for the season to begin. This particular story is centered around a family that comes together for a thanksgiving feast. Food is bought, tables are set, and the turkey is prepared. As guests arrive things take a turn for the worse when dear old mom trips while carrying the turkey into the dining room. When the turkey lands in the fish tank with a “SPLASH!” it seems that all hope is lost… And then Grandpa declares, “No turkey? No problem!” The crew of family and friends, now turkey-less, sit down to feast. And feast they do. They realized there was plenty else to eat and that the actual bird had nothing to do with the overall joy and love they felt that day. The turkey was lost but hope was not.
And then that book got me to thinking – where else in my life am I missing the real message? Where else am I so focused on the 23 pound bird that I miss the simple and sweet joy of what else is being offered? I always say – don’t go seeking answers unless you really are prepared to find them. My quest for truth made it all too clear to me that throughout the week there are many moments when I miss the forest for the trees… I get so fixated on perfection that I miss the sweet pleasure of the messier moments in life.
So today I remind myself to think long and hard about what really matters on Thanksgiving. Not the turkey, not the stemware, not the seat assignments, or the vintage of wine. It matters that we come together. It matters that we give thanks. It matters that we look around the room and feel grateful for the love and camaraderie. It matters that we give and receive love. And that we pray for those suffering and those without warm homes, feasts, tables, and friends. That should be the focus.
*And to honor those less fortunate I pass along this article from the NY Times. It’s an interesting look at how and why it is imperative that we think of others on this day. And that we work to change how we think of them. Nicholas Kristof always forces me to see things from a different angle. He is a profound teacher.