A much-loved family meal is done. The leftovers have been bagged, labelled and refrigerated. The dishes have been washed and put away. The kitchen has the post-Thanksgiving glow that speaks of hard work and optimism. Sunset has turned to darkness and the stars are now the main players to populate the evening sky. There’s a brief interlude before anyone can consider eating another bite; it’s a period of reprieve from laying out food and starting once again on gastronomical treasures. After having prepared the meal that has come to have certain familiar and predictable components, I am really, truly, all used up. I was ready to retire to my chamber. For reasons that were slow to come to me, I felt ready to cry. Now go figure.
With just a few minutes of Transcendental Meditation, five minutes or so of Zen meditation, a dose of introspection and a wing and a prayer, it came to me.
The year between Thanksgiving 2010 and Thanksgiving 2011 has been both physically and emotionally challenging for me. The road, uncharted. To arrive at this juncture, on this day, and to find myself at the dining table surrounded by the people I love most, filled me with an intense sense of bittersweet joy. I can recall my childhood Thanksgivings shared with cousins, aunts, uncles, and extended families. I recollect the numbers of Thanksgivings my husband and I observed before children, and the twenty-one we have celebrated since the children arrived. HIstory reaches into the past while the future unfurls into the black void of the unknown. The unifying thread through all the ages has been, and remains, the celebration of family ~ and gratitude. The dizzying addition to the mix is the realization that the only way that love can survive intact through the many the vicissitudes of life is if we practice forgiveness, mourn our losses, and cling to our faith and express our gratitude for our munificent blessings. I am convinced that I have identified the recipe for a live of happiness and joy, I hope to find that particular recipe when I prepare my Thanksgiving table next year.