As a child Thanksgiving meant trips to Washington, PA where my grandmothers lived. The celebrations included large tables with family all around. Remembering salt sellers for dipping celery in at the top of the plates, cranberries in relish or jelly, dad making oyster stew, the carving of a large turkey, and mashed potatoes that lasted for days afterward.
Later in life, it was Thanksgiving at my parents home and family gathered there. Traditions were passed down as was dining room furniture that used to host the meals at one of the grandmothers. The trips to Pennsylvania ended and Thanksgiving was where we lived in Ohio.
Later yet, Thanksgiving moved to our house with our children and grandchildren. The traditions were moved to another generation and grandparents now came to our place, the days of their hosting had ended.
Now the Thanksgiving has shifted to the kids and we are the guests, the visitors. Family is still really important, but the venues change as life moves on. Some of the children have grandkids of their own now. This has made us great grandparents. We celebrate with those we can. Sometimes the gathering has been large and other times smaller, but everyone communicates on the day if they cannot be together.
This year. This year has been lonely. Thanksgiving has been alone. My wife who has celebrated Thanksgiving with me for 56 years had her Thanksgiving in the ICU. Me, I sat at the table with Thanksgiving Dinner alone. Dear friends had brought the meal and left it at the door.
The whole nature of Thanksgiving is the camaraderie of family, of the love shared, the talk around the table, fellowship before and after. This year. This year, no.
The pandemic has effected the very core of our human nature. My wife is slowly recovering from the covid and me, I finish quarantine in a couple of days.
Being alone does not change thankfulness. I am thankful that my wife is recovering. I am thankful that I am not deeply affected. I am thankful for Jesus Christ, my faith, and the hope of tomorrow. I am thankful for a loving family that pulls together, that suffers together, who rejoice together, who are there for one another. I am thankful for friends who care. I am thankful for all the prayers that have been offered for us.
Even though I sat alone eating a meal I could not taste and normally shared with a large group, I was not alone in spirit. It is in times like these that faith bolsters us and makes us triumphant over the darkness.