I was born in France; we did not have Thanksgiving there. When I moved to the US, my roommates were French, Italian, Roumanian. Somehow, this time of year passed un-noticed. Then, things changed; American friends became more part of my life, and voila!; Thanksgiving arrived with them! Turkey, sweet potatoes, strange cranberry sauce…Coming from a French culinary tradition…well… that did not cut it. Then, I became vegetarian anyway so the matter of the “bird” was at least out of the way.
Now, 30 years later and many Thanksgivings under my belt, I don’t even care about the food anymore; I am just left with the beauty of the shared emotions which are spoken on this special evening. What am I grateful for? What did this past year offered my life? People tear up saying “Thank you” to each other when they rarely do all year long, fathers look at their grown up child and reflect how beautifully they are moving into their adult lives; the grown up child revels in this (sometimes) rare and clearly spoken acknowledgment.
So tomorrow, as I host my community friends (some of whom I only see each Thanksgiving!), I will ask myself what this past year has brought to my life; the love in my family, my mother still vibrant at 92, the beautiful land which holds everything I become and learn, the professional opportunities that have shown up as I have asked them to. And I will tear up too, as most everyone will. When the heart speaks, that generally happens.
What are you grateful for ? What loving person touched your heart? What did you receive from life that felt good, tender, challenging even yet empowering somehow.
The good, the painful, the loving, the angry… Everything is a gift, yet for some reason we sometimes fail to embrace what life offers us.
I am sure glad my friends will be here; we will hold each other with whatever shows up. That will be Thanksgiving here. A good day.