When I caught up on my blog reading yesterday it was good to see how many of my fellow bloggers had posted on Thanksgiving and what they were thankful for. So, although late, here are my Thanksgiving thoughts.
Ok, so I've been staring at the screen not knowing what to write. My first impulses were to list my son and his successes, my husband and our relationship, my siblings and our families, our grandchildren, my job, my church, the cats, our health....our many material things, our ability to travel...the beauty of nature around us, this country.....but then came the doubts. I am deeply thankful for all of these things, definitely, but...
I'm not sure I "believe in" Thanksgiving so much...that's the problem. Of course I believe in thanking God for our very lives and all of the blessings he gives us, it's not that. But one day per year? And all of the trouble and strife we go through to prepare and/or attend a huge feast? And the thanking comes when, at the prayer before we dive into the food? To be sure, I absolutely love getting together with family members and visiting and catching up and renewing our relationships...which seems to happen only over the holidays anymore. (I think I'm seeing a problem here.)
Typically we would travel to visit relatives on my side or host a feast here, for hubby's side of the family, but this year was different. Our Dear Aunt has passed (and those relatives went to visit their other family members), it was my son's year with his father, and we wanted to put our thankfulness into action by helping others.
This year we volunteered for Meals on Wheels and delivered Thanksgiving meals to homebound seniors. Thanks to the exceptionally well-run program, it was so easy to join in and help. The program worked like a well-oiled machine: we were signed in, given information, picked up the hot Thanksgiving meal with accompaniments, received the cleverly packaged meal for Friday (to go in the 'fridge) and were out on the road in no time. The people who run the program were cheerful, helpful--just all-around great.
I didn't know what to expect, either from the people or myself. I've been reading about motivation for serving in various ministries, and of course the GHMP I attended addressed such issues as well. One thing I knew was that feeling self-satisfied or being self-congratulatory ("aren't we great for volunteering on the holiday") was wrong. I was sure such motives were not my reason for being there. As always, God was there with a lesson.
The first two deliveries were to people who lived in trailers from the 1970's, people who were hit hard by life, from what I could observe. They accepted their meals with no ceremony and barely a word. Our hearty "Happy Thanksgiving!" had been met with little response.
It was then, after these two deliveries, that it struck me that I must have been hoping to get some worldly thanks. My motives were not so pure as I had hoped. The lesson hit hard. Despite my desire to serve unselfishly and my awareness of worldly motives, they were still there. Our remaining deliveries were quite different, and we met some dear folks who were warm and talkative, but the lesson remains. I'm sure certain other facets of that lesson will be revealed over time as well.
We finished our deliveries in the cold rain, came home and put a beautiful turkey breast in the oven. Together, we made cranberries, apple and pumpkin pies, stuffing, sweet potatoes, cole slaw and corn. It was a time of togetherness and a time to reflect. I called my son and had a nice talk with him; for that I was also thankful.
So, I guess I've gone a bit far afield of where I began this post. I am thankful for what God has given me, but should that thankfulness perhaps translate into more action? Are we truly grateful or do we maybe feel, just a little bit, as though we've "earned" it? How do we express our thankfulness, and how often? Is once a year enough?
Have a comment? Advice? Random observation? I'd love to hear it. Click "COMMENTS" just below.