A few years ago, my family started a new Thanksgiving tradition. With most of the children grown and gone to different points of the country, it doesn’t make much sense for us to cook the large meal associated with this holiday. Instead, we opt to go to one of the local chain restaurants that serve up a nice turkey-with-all-the-sides meal. It’s not intimate, and it doesn’t convey the same sense of family that we all have come to associate with Thanksgiving, but it has its advantages.
This year we added a new element. While waiting for our turn to be seated, there was an elderly lady who was by herself, looking for a table for one. The restaurant was filled with families and extended families chattering away, but here was this lone person in the midst of it all encapsulated by the years that had gone by, ready to have another meal by herself.
Sometimes we don’t know when or how God will speak to us. I believe in that moment, He whispered something into my spouse's ear, and she invited the woman to have dinner with us. I wasn’t shocked or even surprised. This is who we are.
My daughter is developmentally disabled and wants to hug everyone. We have a saying, “To her, there are no strangers.” To some extent, I think the rest of us have picked that up. We, my family, will start conversations with random people. Most of the time, we find out that we have some point of connection, something in common. We all touch and affect everyone we meet; I hope positively.
We found out that Annetta, the lady who graciously accepted our invitation, was a high school teacher, the same profession as my eldest daughter. Annetta has lived her entire life in Georgia. Other than that, what I was able to hear of her life, I think I will keep private for her. She is a soft-spoken lady with a great deal of dignity and grace. It was an honor to share a meal with her. I think she was glad of the company.
Something Annetta said bothers me. She indicated that people often buy her meal, but they never offer to have her join them or sit with her. I understand the charity that others are trying to bestow, but I think they miss the full point. An act of charity isn’t just giving and walking away, it’s giving a part of yourself as well. I’m thankful that my family knows and does this.
People say count your blessings. I can’t, there are too many, and I’m thankful that our Lord has given me the eyes of my heart to see that.
I pray you had a great Thanksgiving.