I read this on one of my favorite sites, Sacred Space, this morning.....
One test of a family's health: can they eat together? Family meals are at risk. The table can be a place where the preparation of food reflects mother's or father's care, and where parents and children can sit, enjoy, argue, joke, listen, have their voice heard, attack and be attacked, but not walk out. Young couples prize a chance to enjoy a meal with their children. As work or other pressures increase, fast food and television can take over, and you find families who never eat together. In some parts of the world the children grab something from the fridge and ‘graze', a can in one hand, fast food in the other, their eyes fixed on a TV screen. It is no accident that at the centre of the Christian family Jesus placed a meal, the Eucharist. It is round a common table that a family really lives together. Try to find a time, at least once a week, for slow food, not fast.
Sacred Space is an Irish site, run by the Jesuits there, and so our American Thanksgiving holiday is probably not on their mind. But as I dropped notes to friends this week, and checked in on others via Facebook, the subject of the big meal keeps coming up.
There is something about a meal WITH someone. I travel a fair amount, and when I am alone, I tend to eat atrociously, no real time, or attention is paid to the food. Pizza and Chinese food dominates my diet. I eat at my desk a lot, or in my hotel room, working. it's fuel.
But I love to eat with people. When I am with people, even a simple sandwich becomes a feast. I tend to eat much better with people than alone, but it's not about the food. It's about the company and the time spent with each other. It's about the conversation, learning and sharing.
So while I will feast on too much Turkey, dressing, country ham and pumpkin pie, and then settle down with my Mom (Mom is the football fan in my parent's house, not my father.), for whatever game is on in the afternoon; and while I will be thankful for the food. It will really be the company, family and friends, that make the day one to be grateful for.
I tend to take the day before thanksgiving to list my blessings. Why? Precisely because thanksgiving is too full of people and converstation to really set apart and think and pray gratitude. So on the drive to Va tomorrow, I will have plenty of time, and good thing - I have a great deal to be thankful for.
At 54, I have lived through a lot of ups and downs, as have most people my age. And that wave of life and emotion has reminded me that there are so many things to be thankful for ALL the time, even when things are not so good on the surface. But there are always many things. And in times like now, when all in all life is pretty decent, then there are an abundance of things to be thankful for. I am looking forward to my drive South, and the long prayer of Thanksgiving that is ahead of me.
Take care dear readers. I'll be back over the weekend.