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Not by bread alone...

Will you be feeling empty or full this Thanksgiving?

Tough question to answer, huh?

It was Thoughtful Thursday, and I thought I ought to come out with a nice warm & fuzzy Thanksgiving post, maybe share some of my favorite nourishing recipes…but somehow it just wasn’t sitting right with me.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve found myself paging through magazines and store flyers, trying to think about what’s going to be on the menu, even listening to holiday music on the radio, but I just don’t quite feel in the mood for cheer. I guess it might be knowing how so many of us will be staring across the table at empty chairs this year, where our loved ones might have sat near us, giving thanks for special time together. A quarter of a million American families are missing someone they loved and will never see again in this lifetime. So many others of us haven’t lost someone but feel a strange disconnect from joy knowing that so much death and destruction lurks around every corner and that to protect the lives of those we cherish, we must physically avoid them. No hugging Grandma. No holding the new baby. I am blessed enough to have a house full of children, but many, especially the elderly and frail, are facing what could be one of their last holidays completely alone.

Not so warm and fuzzy.

But I’m not one to go down without a fight, and my kids depend on me to dig down deep and find the light of happiness somewhere, because they deserve to not have their hopeful innocence shattered by this shadow that has befallen our country and much of the world.

The reason we feel empty inside, I think, is that we are all craving a lot more real human connection. That’s what makes Thanksgiving extra painful, because it’s pretty much the one holiday that has somehow avoided commercialization, and aside from food, is really about togetherness – the one thing we all need to nourish our souls, and the very thing we are all being denied.

So what can we do about it? Aside from wearing masks, social distancing, washing hands, and waiting for a vaccine, there really isn’t much. But we can give thanks and we can find some sense of meaning and satisfaction, even in 2020, and I don’t just mean heading face first into those mashed potatoes and downing glass after glass of wine to numb the sadness, though trust me, I know it’s tempting.

We long for connection with those we love. If they are living, we can of course do a little Zooming. But there’s something else…

There’s prayer.

It doesn’t have to be so much about religion when we bow our heads as it does about lifting up our humanity. Let’s think about honoring the lives and sacrifices of the ones we couldn’t have made it this far without. The ones who loved without condition, who give without expecting in return, who always brought a smile along with a spirit of hope and gratitude, even in the midst of struggle and hardship. Can you think of someone? Truly, what would we do without these heroes in our lives, for however long we are able to enjoy the blessing of their presence? How about setting a place for them at the table, lighting a candle, or lifting a glass in their name? How about committing a random act of kindness in their honor? Bring a full plate to the neighbor next door. Donate to a food bank or a homeless shelter. If your hero is still living, call them up and tell them how you feel. Pray for their health and prosperity. Hold a place for them in your heart. Give thanks for their being in your life.♥️🙏

And above all, if you do have someone dear to share Thanksgiving with, make sure they have no doubt how much they mean to you. And savor the look you get in return – the connection – it’s the sweetest thing on the menu.

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