The annual holiday fest called Thanksgiving is over, with lots of food leftover to relish the rest of the week. I did not host this time, as my son and daughter-in-law brought together clans from both sides. Just the spreadsheet that my daughter-in-law prepared to assign tasks, including which oven at what time for what, was a feat of thorough planning which led to excellent execution!
As I sampled the array of appetizers, followed by the main turkey- actually 2 types of turkey and one chicken- and the dozens of sides; followed by a smorgasbord of desserts such as cakes, pies, cookies and even a cannoli dip which was incredibly delicious; and a birthday cake for six members across the clan- all November birthdays.
There was no way to taste each item, only feasting with the eyes would fill your tummy. And as we went around the table expressing our gratitude, we all observed and commented on the abundance of bounties, and how as it says in Sura Rahman, Quran: could you ever deny the bounty of your Lord? Every year we promise to downsize the feast, but every year the Thanksgiving planning craze takes over and more and more items are added. We are one of those desi families who never have any desi (ethnic) food at the table- merely a token hot sauce bottle for those who feel compelled to burn their palates! Indeed when the kids were younger, we would host other families’ kids for another turkey dinner so that they could have the full American meal deal.
Beyond the food, the shared moments and memories of families reuniting and being together for the whole afternoon is the true joy of Thanksgiving, and we have to keep reminding ourselves of that timeless precious gift — the memories made that will be there with us forever. As always our grandkids- being natural performers like their grandparents — will do some ballet, ping pong, dance, violin, Quran or poem recitation. Their talents continue to expand and deepen, and it is a joy to see the progress year to year.
Hopefully, we leave this food fest holiday with renewed commitment to the various causes we support through funds and through action. Some of us serve meals to the hungry, others work with NGO’s that help people in poor countries of the Global South and some of us just sit with the elderly one time a week to give back. When I think of the state of the world and the excess we are blessed with, that is the only way to redeem ourselves. And I always pray that it is enough to cleanse our souls and make a dent in the worldwide trauma we are witnessing, and pleasing our Creator: expressing gratitude not just with words but action. May we keep healing as a way of thanks, Ameen.