Mel's Healing Pilgrimage 2016

Links to the Camino de Santiago pilgrimages are on the navigation links to the right of the web page.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Thanksgiving Bookends

I posted these on the Camino of Healing page or on my personal Facebook page. I'm consolidating them on this post as a duet of reflections for Thanksgiving and gratitude. Though the posts were only 3 days apart, they seem to go together like bookends. The first was posted the morning after I attended a church gathering at a friend's home. The second was posted as I was on my way to setup the Thanksgiving dinner in the park for our community in need. I share them with you here in case you missed them or are not on Facebook.

(1) Monday morning - November 19

I was at a dinner gathering this weekend and I sat at a table where a family fed their two sons. They put the hot dogs and mac-n-cheese and kale on their plates. The veggies surprised me because I didn't like them for dinner as a child and these two youngsters wanted them.

Then the parents did their nightly dinner practice, asking the boys to share their gratitudes. The boys shared things like mac-n-cheese, baseball, bread, and a game they made up.

It was all so innocent. Simple really. Expressing gratitude as we broke bread.

And I wished, how I wished, we all could remember to say thanks for all these little things. For the bread in our lives, for the mac-n-cheese, for the games.

We don't have to be grateful for big things only. We can be grateful for the small things. On my Facebook page, I've been posting every day some gratitude that I have. And they're the photo opps of thanksgivings: family, love, jobs, sunsets, etc. But let's not forget the little joys, the games and jokes that put smiles on our faces every day. Let's be grateful for the tears as well as the giggles, the range and rainbow of human emotions, with people we know and love, with people we're getting to know, with people we've never even met. Because all these things remind us that we are alive, and that's the biggest gift of all.

(2) Thanksgiving 6:30am - November 22

I shivered as the cold leaves slipped silently under my feet, threatening ever so slyly to trip me to the ground. I smelled the damp cedars and memories began to fill me.

There was the woman without a home who apparently walked 3 miles from All Saints to the coffee shop I frequent. She had gotten a gift card from our church to help her out, began walking to the store, and became lost. The coffee shop owner told me earlier this week about how she took this woman to the store to help her and then took her back down to the church. The owner didn’t try to take the woman to her nearby church, but back to All Saints, because that’s where she wanted to go. I pondered what it felt like to have to walk everywhere and to get lost.

When I walk, it’s a privilege. I get to walk. And someday my body or my circumstances might not allow that luxury. Or, Someday I might be forced to walk.

I shivered this chilly morning as I smelled the rain-filled air and prepared to head down to the park. We have to set up the tables and chairs, for the diners and for the volunteers, giving a Thanksgiving dinner to those who might not be able to do something special for themselves or their families.

I shivered when I thought of all the drenched people who might have to walk to the park for this meal. Who had to sleep in the rain. We woke up when the rain started, hearing it tap against the windows, then pulled our comforter over us and drifted back to sleep. I didn’t think about those sleeping on the streets at that moment. But I did once I went outside.

I shivered as I remembered walking in the rain on Camino. I wondered where to find safety. Where to dry my clothes. Where to wash the mud off my face, shoes, trousers. Where the next village was. Where to find a bathroom. I wondered where the path before me was leading me.

I shivered. And I parked. Got out of my car. I put on my backpack of supplies I needed for today. I grabbed a bottle of water.

And I am walking the two hours from Altadena down to the park. Right now, I’m nursing a cup of coffee at a different coffee shop, warming my hands. I’m back on my camino, meeting people in the shadows, smiling, shivering together, wishing each other good mornings and happy thanksgivings.

Soon I’ll be at the park, and Stephen will join me and we will set the table for a great thanksgiving. I won’t be cold once we start hauling the many hundreds of tables and chairs around.

The food will come out. People will break bread together. We will give thanks.

And I might just shiver one more time.

May your Thanksgiving be filled with grace, fellowship, family, and love and may our tables be set for the whole human family.

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