Every Thanksgiving we smile and say Happy Thanksgiving to each other. We food shop ahead of time, loading up our carts with tons of food for just one meal. Some of us spend way more than we have to spend. It’s unbelievable. Dish after dish after dish is prepared. Turkeys, hams, sweet potatoes, stuffing, dressing. And the desserts! It’s almost obscene.
Wait a minute! Who let you in here, Scrooge?? Get lost! It’s time to feast. It’s Thanksgiving! Don’t you know that when you are with the Lord, you feast and when you are without him, you fast? Today we are with the Lord!
When I was a working woman, I usually worked every holiday. No, I’m not that generous, but it was for my kids. Being a divorced mom was difficult, to say nothing of the guilt I had over being unable to offer them family to share holidays with. It was just me in this state, no family close by. But their father, now he has lots of family. Tons of family. He was able to give them the family roots I couldn’t. So I worked most holidays and my boys, they feasted with their dad’s family. Sometimes I wonder if the boys ever knew why their mom worked all the time.
Did giving up my holidays with them make me sad? Yes, usually for a couple of hours. I tried, but I’m not a graceful martyr. And then I had to get over it, and get over it pronto. There was work to do, patients to see, and a staff pot luck dinner to add to. My holidays were not boring. Those of us who had to work made the best of it. We couldn’t be with our families but we had plenty enough to be thankful for, that’s true.
Over the years since I stopped working at the hospital, I’ve had the opportunity to host Thanksgiving for my boys and their families. It’s been fun, hectic, bountiful, nerve-wracking, and a dream come true. I have loved every minute, but I still feel kind of nostalgic at times for those good ol’ days spent sharing the holidays with fellow respiratory therapists, nurses, doctors, and especially the patients stuck in the hospital instead of home with their loved ones.
This year is different. The boys are once again with their dad’s family for this Thanksgiving day. My step-son is with his new little family, unable to take the little baby out in public, and unable to have a ton of visitors. My husband and I thought about going out to eat, but changed our minds when we found out that a couple we know were also sans children for the day. So we invited Barbara and Joe for Thanksgiving dinner. It was a great idea, as it turned out. Frankly, I couldn’t face all the people and noise involved with eating out. And what could be better than getting together with old friends? As it happens, in the nearly 40 years Barbara and I have been friends this is the FIRST Thanksgiving Day we have spent together! That’s just unbelievable. We have shared everything a family could share together, but not Thanksgiving Day. As our day progressed, we reminisced over many memories, some good, some sad. We were animate; our wrinkles and gray hair disappeared as our youth re-possessed us. And we laughed over how much alike we are getting in our ‘old’ age. It is funny, isn’t it, that we now have to write notes to ourselves so we don’t forget something we have to do or buy at the grocery? And isn’t it embarrassing when we lose our train of thought, or can’t find that word we were just about to say? “It’s on the tip of my tongue!” We talked about how our hearing isn’t so good anymore, and our backs are hurt, we can’t sleep and we need a new knee. Oh brother. ‘Oldage’; you can have it. I’m joking, of course, because we really aren’t old, it’s just that our children have grown up and had their own children. That’s not old, that’s seasoned. That’s experience. That’s life.
You know, there should always be a time for Thanksgiving in every household, in every family, in every place of work. The Bible says to never cease praying and giving thanks. I’m glad we have a special day designated for that, but it is our privilege, in fact, honor, to be thankful everyday. When you consider how blessed we are . . . how could we dare to not be thankful?! Being thankful doesn’t have to be only at a certain place, at a certain time, in certain company. Anytime, day or night, stop what you are doing and just be thankful. God will rejoice. It’s that simple.
Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 5: 19-20
And to my family, whom I love with all my heart and my friends as well ~ I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayer. Ephesians 1: 16