Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday. Each year my family gathers together to cook our traditional meal – each of us insisting that we “must have” a certain side dish or “it just wouldn’t be Thanksgiving.” For me, it’s the mashed sweet potatoes and the string beans with slivered almonds – yum! As much as I love the food, however, nothing beats the prayer we say just before we begin to eat. We don’t have a set prayer, or a particular person assigned to lead it, and it’s never very elaborate. That’s not the point. For me, it’s about the collective pause we take to give thanks, to recognize the abundance in our lives, and to experience the gratitude we have for each other and for our many blessings. At some point after the prayer, I wait for two things I know are going to happen. The first is that my mom is going to say, “Mmm, mmm, mmm,” and the second is that my brother, the master chef at the feast, will sample everything on his plate and will invariably ask, “Who’s got it better than we do?” Then my favorite part - we’ll all reply in near-unison, “No one!” What wonderful moments and memories these are, surrounded by my family who all love me, and each other, unconditionally - who share history and countless memories together, and who have raised our children from infants into the amazing young adults they are today. What a wonderful pause this is, this moment at the Thanksgiving table – the best of the whole year.
For the past several weeks at All Saints we have been spending time in our spiritualty program focusing on Abundance and Gratitude. Students have looked at the importance of family, friends and community; they’ve explored the difference between needs and wants, gratitude for our responsibilities, and the ways in which we might invite more simplicity into our lives.
This week we asked staff and students to use special colorful markers to write what they are most grateful for this year on our glass doors and windows. What fun we had writing on the glass! Their answers were truly delightful! (Someone wrote that they are happy for water pressure – fitting as all of Hoboken and part of Jersey City struggles with a major water main break this week!) I am happy to share their responses with you here:
Horses Potatoes Voice lessons Life My house Knowledge My food Clothes My evergreen Football Animals Art My children Guitar Beaches Beans Sodas Gymnastics Geckos My brother Ice cream Pandas Pets Peace Life and its splendor Baby Guzman Peace Kids Music and love Dance Piano lessons Little black dogs Sports Water pressure Amazing life! Books and food Friends All Saints Family and education Skiing and lacrosse My teachers and family The sun Family and Friends Doctor Who Stuff Family Fish Wilson, my fish Happiness Cats Turtles Golden Retrievers Gym Penguins Education My Mom Trees Swim team Sharks Cheese Hunger games Crème Brule Basketball My Parents, especially my Dad Manchester United