This Thanksgiving was special. I didn’t eat any turkey, or stuffing, or broccoli bacon salad, or zweiback smothered with raspberry jam, or pumpkin pie, or sweet potatoes. I did not sing a stirring rendition of “We gather together” with family and friends. I did not watch or play football; I did not hold a baby. I did not lay around or play games. And yet, this Thanksgiving was meaningful to me in another way. Meaningful in a way where traditions and things that I sometimes cling to too tightly lose their importance in the face of life. Meaningful in a similar way that hopefully everyday of our life carries some meaning if we are faithful to seek it.
This Thanksgiving, I told my friends, I celebrated the day in my heart. “How does one celebrate Thanksgiving in one’s heart” you might be wondering. Well, for me, I made sure to call or touch base with the important people in my life. This resulted in about 2 to 3 hours of unhurried skype time. Then, I also had a lovely lunch of dumplings with 2 dear team-mates. (Extra bonus: Jenn shared a piece of banana cream pie with me). Next, I enjoyed writing some cards to friends and family. And finally, I accompanied a friend to the hospital. Being in the hospital made me extra thankful for 2 things: 1) western medicine and 2) health. I looked over at some of the other patients in the room. An older man in the last bed had skin that was starting to turn very yellow and I felt that his time to fly would not be long at all. His grown children seemed to know it too in their down-cast and blood-shot eyes.
In the evening, I went to the fellowship with a small group of students. We sat together and chatted happily on the bus. The topic at the meeting was also good fodder for deeper conversations to discuss on the bus ride home. After that, I enjoyed a milk tea with 2 of the students who seemed reluctant to return to their dormitories. The topic of our conversation? True love. And although I’m older than both of these students by nearly a decade, my feeling was that they have both tasted it more than I have. But on this particular evening, I was surprisingly not jealous of them in the least and felt very content to sip milk tea, letting it settle pleasantly in my belly, listening to their experiences, and marveling at the mystery of relationships.