We are in the middle of a pandemic. Our most learned and earnest medical experts are pleading with us to stay home and stay safe, to avoid even small family gatherings. But ... it's Thanksgiving. Of all the holidays we celebrate as Americans, Thanksgiving might be our most cherished. For most of us, this is the time of coming back to hearth and home, feasting with friends and family. This is a time steeped in tradition and these traditions are the ones that remind us that we have so much to be grateful for. And, like most of you, I treasure the chaos, the dirty pots and pans, the leftover stuffing, and even the political debates. (There was that year the dogs ate half the turkey and the time the kitchen sink clogged up.) But, this year will be different ... quieter. It will take more creative planning and scheduling to get everyone on Zoom, at least for a while, while we do our best to gather around our virtual table and drink in everyone's smiles, for we have the great good fortune of living in a time when this is possible.
Yesterday, I watched a documentary on the 1918 Flu (a.k.a. the Spanish Flu.) I was stunned by how little human behavior has changed in the 100+ years since that worldwide pandemic. From denial of its existence to outright rebellion against staying home and wearing masks, had it not been for the old newsreel footage, I would have thought the subject of the documentary was Covid-19 (also named for a far-off country in a weakly veiled attempt to place blame outside ourselves.) The upshot was this ... both pandemics have claimed more lives than either of the two world wars.
Two days ago, I heard that the number of lives lost per day to Covid-19 could be imagined as two jumbo jets a day falling from the sky for the past eight months. That's a vivid metaphor! We know that Boeing 737-Max jets were grounded for eight months after only two fatal crashes. Yet, we can't, as a nation, agree on mitigation efforts to beat the pandemic. And with Thanksgiving just days away ...
Well, what are we to do? We can't be blamed for the longing we feel for our loved ones on this special day. Our heartache is understandable. But, what if, instead of whining, "But it's Thanksgiving!" we choose to celebrate that we aren't victims of war or that the last plane we took didn't fall from the sky? What if we take a collective breath of real thanks-giving. How would our hearts feel different if we took a few moments to ourselves at the beginning of the day to imagine that we, as humans, are fortunate to live in a sea of Divine Love? That every breath we take is composed of love and nourishes every cell with love? The 13th century mystic, Rumi, wrote, "Love is from the Infinite and will remain until eternity." What if we behaved that way? Could we allow one year to pass without the tradition of gathering at the same table with our loved ones? Could we even express enough gratitude for our great good fortune to be able to "stay home and stay safe" while virtually dining together?
I am grateful for the opportunity to count the days, the precious days, before I can safely gather around a festive table with family and friends. I am thankful for the time available to perfect new recipes to wow next year's Thanksgiving guests (or the year after.) I allow myself to swim in the sea of Love that is my birthright and I wish with all my heart that everyone reading this does the same.
Make it a happy Thanksgiving, everyone! ~ Love and light, Dee