Having a great Thanksgiving Day with my son, David, 30 years old, who is diligently studying for his law school exams as I simply basque in spending time with him, given his hectic schedule. On this quiet, cozy, rainy day, I’m writing to you about love. In this chapter of my life, I’m especially grateful for the love of family and friends.
I’m thinking about the holidays — a time when we get all dolled up and go out to special gatherings. I don’t know about you but I’m danged pleased to have that opportunity, whether its to attend one of my grown children’s soirées or just to go to book club all done up in a red sweater adorned with my sparkly earrings.
Sometimes, though, during the holiday season with all the social gatherings, the extrovert in me collides with the introvert. Miss Gad-about butts heads with No, thank you, I’ll just stay at home with a good book.
It’ll be like the time I had a wildly interesting and fun conversation with a couple I had just met. There were so many things I’d wanted to know about their careers and their travels, and they had many questions for me about mine. When we eventually came to a stopping place, I excused myself to go powder my nose. Searching and finding a remote guest bedroom, I sat with a great sense of relief that I could quietly read a magazine for a little while. Ah, solitude.
Another time I was excited to be invited to my children’s holiday party in their home, yet I fretted about all the various conversations to be had after a long day of assistance with the preparation. I came up with the brilliant idea of dressing myself in paid-musician garb – black skirt and white blouse- and I’d show up incognito to play easy-listening jazzy background music on their lovely grand piano. The kids didn’t go for my gig idea so I refrained, but the playing was sure a hit and it totally took care of my time alone requirement as I drew inside my own world of melody and harmony, pulling up old favorites from my memory bank.
But the truth is, even though I need a break sometimes, I truly need the love that comes ‘round and pours over me when I am surrounded by others at these festive occasions. Catching up with friends and making new ones — all the good there’s to be had in learning what’s going on in their heads and hearts — those moments are what leave me feeling so enriched.
Conversations on these occasions can be like opening a special, beautifully wrapped package. Untie the bow and comments and opinions begin to flow out, entertaining and intriguing and tickling your mind.
What a gift we can be to each other, whether old friends or new, strangers, acquaintances or best buddies, folks who agree with us and we, with them, and folks with whom we just don’t see eye to eye AT ALL.
Here’s the clincher for me on that last thought. Bear with me as I mention a somewhat negative element of life. From small disagreements with each other to major rifts, they exist. I’ve certainly experienced the major rift thing, and honey, it can take over inside you, if you let it. Now, in my 66th year, a “c’est la vie” attitude has seemingly evolved organically, and the potential to love past the obstacles has become easier.
Whatever the magnitude, I believe those difficult, negative relationships can serve a greater purpose, if not to grow our patience, then to grow us in other ways, perhaps encouraging us to throw away, to the best of our ability, the need to be stubborn or judgmental, and to decide on a positive outcome, not just for ourselves but for them, as well.
Not to sound too mushy or simplistic about it – but I think it’s just about letting your love flow.
Granted, these are challenging times, when many of us feel divided on the issues of the day. It’s fairly easy to be critical of others with opposing views.
It’s also the time of year when we may be with folks who, to tell the truth, push our buttons. There’s the one who “done us wrong” or the other who thinks we once insulted them and want to ruminate for a lifetime about a slight from yesteryear. There’s really no choice except to get eaten up by it or decide to love. Really, I say to myself, maybe that old standby, love, is the answer.
I’m thankful for the generosity of love — those people I love and those who love me, especially, given my quirks (insert winking emoticon here, like this —-> ;-))
So today, Thanksgiving Day, I give tremendous thanks for the opportunities set before me daily, to love and be loved.
And from The Book of Common Prayer, an excerpt which seems to speak to all of this:
“Accept, O Lord, our thanks and praise for all that you have done for us. We thank you for the splendor of the whole creation, for the beauty of this world, for the wonder of life,
and for the mystery of love.
We thank you for the blessing of family and friends, and for the loving care which surrounds us on every side. We thank you for setting us at tasks which demand our best efforts, and for leading us to accomplishments which satisfy and delight us.
We thank you also for those disappointments and failures that lead us to acknowledge our dependence on you alone. . .”
Happy Thanksgiving with love,