As we are about to celebrate one of my favorite holidays, I invite you to focus on what it is important, our blessings and our loved ones. Let us remember the good in our lives. I hope we realize that it is precisely because of our challenges we get to enjoy our times of bliss more fully, and appreciate them more, and be thankful for them.
By not falling prey to the traps of gift giving which taints Christmas, which should be the holiest of holidays, we can actually turn Thanksgiving Day, holy.
Regardless of our beliefs, our religious affiliation, our customs and backgrounds, or lack of all of these, and I dare say,
even in spite of all, we are all similar in our need to belong.
We want to feel included, welcomed, appreciated, even loved. Thanksgiving Day should be a day which allows us to feel that. We can show our gratitude for what we have and are by showing charity towards others as well. We can invite the new friend, the neighbor who lives alone, the newcomer, the lonely widow or divorcee, to join jus for dinner.
Some memories are unforgettable, vivid and heartwarming. Recently, while decluttering some drawers, I found a thank you note from a friend of long ago. Many years older, she was divorced and her grown up children lived thousands of miles away. She shared with me her plans to spend the holiday by herself. Before I thought it through, I uttered an invitation to join us for dinner that day.
I never expected her to attend though. My friend was always proper, quiet and dignified. When I saw her arrive carrying a dessert, I worried about how comfortable she would feel with my loud, rambunctious, and goofy family.
With a bit of apprehension, I watched as she accepted my brother in law's invitation to taste his favorite beer, when I knew she hated it. I heard her laugh at my younger brother's joke about her hometown people upon learning where she had been born, and did not seem offended.
But I worried a bit all night. That is why the card I received a week later was so especial. She has been gone for many years, but rereading her words of gratitude for having felt included, accepted and even loved by that loud, rambunctious and goofy family that night brought tears to my eyes.
She expressed her feelings of inclusion and thanked me for what she perceived as total acceptance from my family. She ended by writing, "your family's kindness and sincere welcoming towards a virtual stranger warmed my heart and washed away my feelings of isolation. I will be forever grateful to you and them."
So, today I invite you to ask yourselves how many of your friends or associates may be feeling sad and isolated. And don't let perceived differences stop you from uttering an invitation.
Now and always, let us remember in spite of those who want to divide us by race, background, religion, social status, political affiliation, gender, or by any other label we can find, that we are all ultimately members of one big family, the human family.
And human should make us humane, and humble, loving, accepting, tolerant, wise, welcoming, faithful and thanksgiving. Let us express our thanks for what we have and we still enjoy; for those we miss and enriched our lives before; for the challenges we are facing and through which we are learning so much; and most of all for the hope of a brighter future and new beginnings always.
For no matter how dark this day may seem, we can find the light awaiting us if we remain standing. We never walk alone and in the words of Scarlett O'Hara, "Tomorrow is Another Day."
I am thankful for that.
This is just my opinion...