Growing up, it was never my favorite holiday. It wasn’t because I wasn’t in a loving family, it was because I didn’t care for the food and the consequences that came along with not caring for the food.
I’m sorry, but I detest traditional Thanksgiving food. Turkey, stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce - no thank you. As a child, Thanksgiving meant surviving through meals at two sets of grandparents’ homes. Sometimes it meant getting disciplined for refusing to eat.
When I became a teenager, the battle had turned in my favor. Dad started cooking steaks for my Thanksgiving meal. This made Thanksgiving more enjoyable for me but still, It was not all that great. I was often made fun of by my cousins for having “Thanksgiving Steak” while they were enjoying their turkey. Why anyone would choose turkey over steak is beyond me, but they seemed confident in their choice and in their laughter.
I had everything to be thankful for - I had a loving family that provided for my every need. But I was immature and I couldn’t see past my dread of those meals. This immaturity lasted well into my thirties; I was just never able to get excited about Thanksgiving.
The holiday is growing on me. While I still detest traditional thanksgiving food, I appreciate the blessings of being able to share a meal with the people in your life that matter. I’m older now, maybe even a touch more mature. I’ve two adult sons who’ve been away at college. I’ve a mom who is recovering from a pretty significant brain bleed. I now get to train both my mom and my dad. I get to. I’m thankful.
Life is so short, so uncertain. The best thing we can do in this life, in this world, is to appreciate it and to love our way through it. Love is everything, it’s the only thing. Nothing else matters. Without the ability to love and to share love, there is no point to anything and everything is just empty. But with Love, whether it is a love that is lost, rekindled, found, or whatever - Love is the texture of life. It truly is better to have love and lost than to never have loved at all.
Can you imagine?
Life without love would be like a room without air. It would suck. It would be a living death. And yet, often we choose a living death over a loving life. We let differences separate us, we let memories of wrongs guide us, and we let our opinions of others lie to us. And it is these things that suck the life right out of us.
Love ignites us. If we let it. Love can make us come alive. It allows us to look see our similarities, it allows us to let go of the past mistakes of others as well as our own, and it allows us to remain open hearted towards the truth of others. Love unites us, it holds us, and it gives us an amazing capacity to endure its many textures with gratitude and joy.
Thanksgiving is about Love. It’s an opportunity to truly check our pulse to see if we are living through death or if we are loving through life. To be thankful is to both give and receive Love. That’s all it is. That’s everything it is. That means to be thankful is to be alive.
Gratitude is life because gratitude is the current of Love. And without Love, there is no life.
I’m still growing up. It might be my favorite holiday.