Brian’s Reflection: Wednesday, November 23, 2011
[ In Anticipation of Thanksgiving Day ]
All this hurrying soon will be over.
Only when we tarry do we touch the holy.
Rainer Maria Rilke
[ In Praise of Mortality, translated and edited by Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy ]
The Thanksgiving Day holiday/”holy-day”. Dennis and I are keeping it with a dear friend and some other friends old and dear and some new. Thanksgiving is, relatively speaking, a holiday that hasn’t been commercialized and contaminated with money (except for food extravagance – but you don’t make too much on a turkey!) No presents, etc. And thank God we don’t have to hear music for it months ahead, like Christmas! (I can’t help speculate that Americans must be very depressed if they need to ratchet up a little jollity two months before the holiday!)
Thanksgiving is a day on which we “tarry” and touch what truly is holy. Yes, we overeat ….. but the real generosity of people comes out, in that at Thanksgiving we do try to make sure that those without have a feast.
But here’s the cliché – and by God it’s OK for Thanksgiving to be a cliché! We tarry with friends and family ….. and if we are lucky, with strangers drawn into our Life and whom we now recognize as in some wonderful way family or friend. So much of Life is hurry, hurry, hurry. And Rilke is right, it will soon be over. Remember Scrooge? He almost got to the end as a miserable, lonely human being. Around food and drink, we are together primarily for two things: to see, really see, how people have made our Life holy; and to recognize what is important in this Life and what is not.
And let’s face it: too few people in our World have reason to be thankful when it comes to material things. But Love! If anything is going to make a difference - to sustain us - family and friends and their love is at the core. I think about the Thanksgivings I’ve celebrated. Some serving food at a “soup kitchen”. Some in another country, with fellow Americans or Canadians grateful for a shared experience. Some with blood family. Some with the Gayfolk who were and are so much the friends and chosen family who upheld me with their Love and affirmation, and I them.
We have this glorious Mortal Life to live ….. and it flies by. We can’t afford to waste any time! We are here to learn what is important for Life, to learn what is Holy. Christians and other religious communities gather every Sabbath to acknowledge the Holy at the Heart – God, and each other.
Of course we should enjoy the “turkey and all the trimmings”! But on Thanksgiving Day we gather to enjoy and respect and Give Thanks for each other, in all our weirdnesses and delightfulness.
I wish you all tomorrow a holy tarrying, full of laughter, delight and Love.