I find it apropos that just as I return to my practice of gratitude Thanksgiving shows up. At least that’s how it feels to me.
I took a break after my Mom died and I graduated, a break I sorely needed. Yet I also need now to remember my days with thanks again. This is brought home to me as I take my shift at the shelter thinking of my cozy kitchen and feast with friends. It warms my heart and eases my soul to know these families have a warm place to go and a large meal waiting for them on Thanksgiving.
I was remembering on my way here how my mother couldn’t stand the idea of someone being alone on Thanksgiving. As a teenager I was annoyed (as only a teenager can be annoyed) when she would invite everyone she met to dinner. And I mean everyone! The clerk at the bank, our hairdresser, and the lady at church who made it really hard to like her! All this meant to me at 15 was extra dishes and awkward conversations. But I realize now it was so much more!
It was my mother teaching me that everyone has inherent value. Everyone! If you like them or not doesn’t matter. People are precious!
It’s even hard for me now. I asked the butcher if he was working on Thanksgiving. He said, “I’m going to pretend you didn’t say that” as he smiled. But I was asking because I couldn’t stand the thought of all of us eating his delicious turkeys while he worked. I don’t celebrate Thanksgiving at my own home. So I can’t just invite the butcher over. But I want to know he’s celebrating together with someone.
All people are precious and hospitality is a way to honor that beautiful spark in each one of us. This was my life lesson at 15 scrubbing dishes and stumbling through conversations. I am so grateful to understand this now. Thanks, Mom! I love you!