EDITOR'S NOTE: While we don't expect this editorial reprinted from Thanksgiving 2011 to become a holiday classic, perhaps it will strike a chord with you today as you survey the scene around your table. Be grateful for all those near to you, in person or in spirit.
FOR THE uncle who burps and the aunt who slurps, we give thanks.
For the sullen teens who barely look up from their smartphones, much less speak, and for the younger ones who seemingly can't sit still for even a fleeting prayer, we are thankful. For those overly opinionated relatives who easily rile and the ones who rarely disagree, for the constant talkers and the quiet ones, for the peacemakers and the agitators, for the kitchen helpers and those who plop by the TV, for the prodigal sons and the reliable ones, for the dashing fit bodies and those in diapers (infant or adult), we are truly thankful.
On this day, especially, we feel gratitude for everyone seated around the table – family member and friend. In best-case scenario, they are one and the same. But, no matter, they are ours and we are theirs, bonded by blood, or love, or respect, or circumstance, or whatever it is that continues to bring and keep us together despite our quirks and flaws.
The people in our lives are precious gifts.
And if it comes to pass that due to distance, death or other obstacle, we no longer are able to gather with them for Thanksgiving, we then can look back on occasions like this, think of them and consider ourselves blessed.
Until that time, with grateful heart, we listen during this feast to the clatter of silverware and the cacophony of familiar guests. For the understanding partner who keeps the conversation flowing, for the dog patiently waiting to snag table scraps and for the uninterested cat nestled in nearby closet, we are thankful.
For the people now seated with us who soon will shop in the pre-dawn hours and for the ones who adamantly abstain from commercialism, we are thankful. For those who stay late to clean the dishes and the ones who dash out, not to be seen for another 364 days, we are thankful.
For all who touch our lives and leave a tender imprint, we are forever thankful. Amen.