Today is the day we gather together with friends and family. The day usually revolves around eating, football and usually a good nap thrown in there somewhere. I think of all the holidays Thanksgiving has always been my favorite. As a child growing up I can still remember waking up to the smell of the turkey. Even though I don’t eat meat anymore I can still appreciate a good Thanksgiving smell. Because my birthday is always around Thanksgiving (and sometimes on it!) I think the anticipation of my special day made this holiday even more special. My mom was the best cook so Thanksgiving was always especially a favorite. My brother, sister and I used to love to eat the turkey skin and I can remember one year my mom told us she bought a turkey that was only skin, boy were we excited!
As I get older the holiday holds a deeper meaning for me every year. It is not the food that is the focus, but the friends and family I spend the day with. It is about loving each other and being grateful to spend time with one another.
A Thanksgiving Toast
Published: November 25, 2009 in the NY Times
Sitting down with friends and family today, there will be thanks for the steady currents, flowing out of the past, that have brought us to this table. There will be thanks for the present union and reunion of us all.
And there will be prayerful thanks for the future. But it’s worth raising
a glass (or suspending a forkful for those of you who’ve gotten ahead
of the toast) to be thankful for the unexpected, for all the ways that life interrupts and renews itself without warning.
What would our lives look like if they held only what we’d planned? Where would our wisdom or patience — or our hope — come from? How could we account for these new faces at the Thanksgiving table or for the faces we’re missing this holiday, missing perhaps now all these years?
It will never cease to surprise how the condition of being human means
we cannot foretell with any accuracy what next Thanksgiving will bring.
We can hope and imagine, and we can fear. But when next Thanksgiving rolls around, we’ll have to take account again, as we do today, of how
the unexpected has shaped our lives. That will mean accounting for how
it has enriched us, blessed us, with suffering as much as with joy.
That, perhaps, is what all this plenty is for, as you look down the table,
to gather up the past and celebrate the present and open us to the future.
There is the short-term future, when there will be room for seconds. Then there is the longer term, a time for blossoming and ripening, for new friends, new family, new love, new hope. Most of what life contains comes to us unexpectedly after all. It is our job to welcome it and give it meaning. So let us toast what we cannot know and could not have guessed, and to the unexpected ways our lives will merge in Thanksgivings to come.