Thanksgiving is next week, and soon we’ll all be sitting around a dinner table(or in my case the “grown-up kids” table). For my family, we bring a couple of coolers of food to go along with everything prepared. About 20-30 of us gather around a circle, pray, and then split up into our little tables and groups. But when we all sit down and bring our plates to the table, we’re also bringing so much more. So in this post, I want to consider three things we’re each bringing to that Thanksgiving table.
The Past Year
First, we bring everything we have been through up to this point this year. Every experience, every relationship, every break-up, every high, every low, everything ends up at that table. I’m coming in at the best point of my life so far. I’m reasonably sure that everyone at the table won’t share my sentiment. So there needs to be a balance between being grateful about how well this year has gone and being sympathetic to those around us who haven’t had the same fortune I have. So there’s a balance I think we all need to consider as sit around the table and share life.
Struggles & Fears
Everyone is always struggling with something or afraid of something. For me, I struggle with giving my calling everything I can while still making sure that I am investing in relationships with people. There is always this persist fear that things will never work out or even if they do, it will be too little and too late. Others are coming to the table with fear of spending the rest of their lives alone, wondering if they chose the wrong career, or gave up on their dreams. Some struggles and fears are very public: a divorce, the loss of a job, others and hidden far beneath the surface. We all the unique opportunity to speak into those things and encourage our friends and families this time of a year.
The Potential For The Future
One of the cool things about the holiday season is that reflection gives way to anticipation(something I will probably write about more soon). The one thing that we can all bring to the Thanksgiving table this year is hope. No matter how hard this year has been the future always offers us a chance at redemption. Things change every year and some years are better than others. We can always point others to the truth that the best is yet to come in life. I know for me the best year of my life came immediately after the worst year of life. For some of us, this year has been amazing, and we can look back at new friends, new opportunities, and dream of future possibilities. Hope and optimism for the future, coupled with gratitude for the past make us all more thankful.
Most importantly this Thanksgiving bring yourself to the table. Not the self you portray online, not a hollow shell that is present everywhere except the place that you actually are, not the self is too afraid to be authentic. Bring your hopes, your struggles, your dreams, and most importantly bring your heart to the table. It’s why we all gather together.