Thanksgiving, after all, is a word of action. – W.J. Cameron
Every year, at the same time, with the same declaration that 364 days have passed too quickly, and with the same promise that it’s still not too late to proclaim our gratitude, Thanksgiving arrives.
It can materialize quietly or with a dazzle of activity. Whether by way of a hushed and private moment or with the impressiveness of a parade and a large gathering of people, we all still reflect in the end upon the many blessings we have been given. Thanksgiving is a muse of sorts, you see; a whimsical and orchestrated social event that nevertheless inspires us to do better and act better and be better to each other.
This year, you have a special celebration in mind. It’s not something you can resist. Besides, who wants to fight against feeling thankful and admiring? So you take a piece of paper and sit down discreetly with just a pen and your innermost thoughts.
Staring at the spotless page in front of you, you imagine a holiday table is about to be set and adorned. The first plate is situated. It is yours. So, at the head of the table (wherever you imagine that to be on your paper), write your name and then draw a circle around it – a symbolic dish, of sorts. You take a moment to enjoy the solitude of sitting at an enormous table all by yourself. There is delight, at times, in an unescorted life, isn’t there?
But, then, your thoughts turn to the real magic of life; the excitement and charm of connecting with other people. All sorts of people. For it is the friendships and romances and relationships that bring vitality and energy to the world around you. It is the bond you share with others that gives you your edge and passion.
So you look at the paper in front of you – your as-of-yet unattended table (except for you) – and you start to wonder: Who else might show up for the celebration? And you pick up your pen, and you start to write . . .
Begin drawing 11 more circles/plates – one on either side of your setting, and then 3 plates on each of the remaining 3 sides of the table. Inside each of the circles, write down the names of 11 people you know and whom you’d like to have a good time with. When you are done, you will have a table with 12 place settings! There is no rush. You have all the time in the world to fill your festive table with guests.
Now, take a moment and really look at your table. John Donne was quite right – no man is an island. You are not friendless nor alone. There are people who care about you and love you.
So . . . take some time and conjure up the sounds, the smells, the look, and the tastes that your marvelous party bestows. Actually hear the conversations taking place. Savor the food that has been brought to your special get-together. See how everyone has dressed. Really imagine and enjoy the gathering as you call up all the joyous feelings you experience being around this outstanding and remarkable group that has assembled – just for you!
Soon, you start to notice that the center of the table is still bare. Alas, your party is hollow without nourishment and the sustenance of life. So you start to write some more . . .
Pick up your pen and, for each of your guests use the center space of your paper table to write down the 3 things that they are bringing to your party; the 3 personal qualities, traits, or characteristics that truly make them part of your feast of life! What is it about each of your guests that you are thankful for and respect? For example, someone may bring creativity, love, and a spectacular sense of humor to the affair. Another might bring wisdom, gallantry, and courage. Still another guest might bring intrigue, tenderness, and trust.
Finally, in the very center of your table, write down the 3 things that you bring to this holiday banquet! What 3 qualities, traits, or characteristics do you bring to the lives of your guests that makes their world more lavish, meaningful, and significant?
When you are done writing, examine all that you have noted; all those people who make your world a better place and life worth living. Notice, too, the notable blessings you pass on to others. You see, this table is now an inviolate place of grace and true thanksgiving, isn’t it? And, you have created a written celebration of life that can serve as a constant reminder of what you have, who you have, and what you offer.
If you’re an overachiever and want to take this celebration to the next level, write to each person whom you’ve invited to your private party and let them know the 3 things you are thankful for. And, don’t forget to share with them the 3 things you add to the relationship, as well. You won’t be sorry! I promise.
Have a Happy and Magical Thanksgiving!
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