We were 18 for dinner on Sunday night. Family. Friends. Newcomers to our table.
It was perfect. It was Thanksgiving and we were a community giving thanks together.
Growing up, Thanksgiving in our house was always a time of bountiful food, family and sharing. My parents loved to entertain and we four children knew, no matter how late one of us extended an invitation, they would graciously welcome newcomers into our midst and make room at the table. There was always laughter, great food, wine, conversation and music at my parents table. It was where their spirits shone brightest.
When they met, my mother didn’t know how to cook. My father taught her. And then, she learned a few of her own tricks and together they shared in the passion of creating fabulous celebrations to which our friends often lobbied for an invitation. My father would lord it over her in the kitchen, but my mother learned to hold her ground, insisting the food not only pleased the palate but also the eyes. Her tables were beautiful, with pressed linens and fresh flowers, matching stemware and silverware, everything themed to the occasion.
It is where my mother and I differ the most. I love a beautiful table but enjoy a more eclectic sense, my artistic nature shying away from traditional for a more free-flowing look and feel. C.C. says it’s just like my cooking. “Free-styling” he calls it. No need for a recipe. Just go with the flow. 🙂
Last night, we were all in the flow of connecting around a table laden with food, our hearts full of the love that stirs when people sit together and share in a meal that has been lovingly prepared by each other. Everyone brought a dish. Everyone took great care to make their dish special. My friend Tamz came and helped decorate the house and at each place setting I placed a leaf I’d collected and painted and written a word on. After dinner, each person was invited to say something about the word on their leaf that expressed their gratitude.
We went around the table and shared our thoughts and feelings of the words such as “Harmony”, “Laughter”, “Grace”, “Perspective”, “Nature”, “Home”, “Prosperity”, “Health”, “Joy”. Whether funny or serious, within each sharing was a sense of profound gratitude and connection to one another through the gratitude that fills our hearts.
It is good that once a year we are reminded to stop and breathe and give thanks.
It is good that we acknowledge the things we are grateful for, and the people in our lives for whom we give thanks.
It is good that within each of us there is this deep place that knows who we are shines brightest in our connections to one another.
It is good that we stop and acknowledge that which binds us together, connects us and keeps us safe.
It is good that we give thanks for the Love that illuminates our hearts and creates such abundance in our lives.
Seated around the table, listening to the conversation and the laughter, sharing stories and hopes and dreams I was reminded once again that in all things I am grateful. Because in all things, there is Love.