Today’s find: Feast

On a whim, I stopped by the grocery store to pick up a frozen turkey breast the other day.

Perhaps worth noting: This is my “auxiliary bird.” We’ll be gathering with extended family for our “official” Thanksgiving feast later today. And I know from experience that there aren’t always leftovers available when we depart. So leaving nothing to chance, I bought a smallish bird to roast – and call my own.

Preparing for the post-feast...

Preparing for the post-feast…

It’s a long holiday weekend, after all…and a man’s gotta have leftover turkey for his sandwiches between now and Monday.

At the time of my impetuous provisioning trip, I was aware of just how remarkable a thing it was to be able to carry out my plan: Bop in the store, cruise the meat aisle, and have my pick of a dozen or more turkey breasts that I could later roast to juicy perfection. Had I been in the market for an entire bird, the bounty would have been even more pronounced: literally dozens of choices displayed before me…just in this one store.

Call it a grace, I suppose, to have this moment of in-store awareness…because it moved me to gratitude.

And gratitude, I’ve noticed, is a hard feeling to muster in my culture. I am bombarded instead with enticements to desire. Immersed in bounty, every message I hear or see these days seems calculated to stir up the sensation that I need still more. All too often, I succumb: A turkey feast, by itself, may not be enough. I’d better buy an auxiliary bird, just to make sure…

My pen-pal Daniel probably deserves credit for some of this slow-dawning consciousness on my part. I connected with Daniel (a resident of Madagascar and a man my own age) through the family sponsorship organization called Unbound. He lists his occupation as “cartpuller”, but I think he may do a little farming / gathering, too. In a recent letter, Daniel’s daughter reports: “he is so happy because the weather is good, and whole crops like peanuts and groundnuts are ready for harvesting…Daniel really enjoys to eat groundnuts with beefmeat, and to prepare food, especially when all of his grandchildren are around.”

Daniel, my gratitude guru

Daniel, my gratitude guru

It’s a blessing whenever I hear from Daniel, because it reminds me about the accidents of my existence. He’s born there…I’m born here…just a few months (and several thousand miles) apart. He’s known hunger in his lifetime, while I never have.

He’s known gratitude, too – for the profound joy experienced in even the simplest of family feasts.

A worthy lesson, and a valuable reminder, as we look forward to the bounty we’ll share and the time we’ll spend with loved ones today and in the days to come.

* * *

In closing today — an excerpt from the Catholic Relief Services prayer, In Thanksgiving for Blessings Unknown:

 

For the crops that have flourished,

and the child who now knows

nothing of hunger …

… we give You thanks.

 

For all the nights we spent in fear,

but by Your grace saw mornings

filled with hope …

… we give You thanks.

 

For all the joys of this year,

The moments when light shone

through the darkness

When angels stood triumphant

When we saw past our sin and strife

And glimpsed beyond the veil

At what the kingdom of God truly

could be …

… we give You thanks.

 

 

 

Let us pause now…to recall that we are in the presence of the Holy One.

IHS

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