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Thankfully Mindful

There won’t be much painting for the next few days as cooking and communing take precedence over brushes and palettes, but that does not mean there will be no creativity. Indeed, there will be creation and re-creation.

Wednesday morning as I was cleaning and preparing for our guests, news came that a dear friend had passed away just hours before. The news was not unexpected. There was comfort that she had not been in any pain and had been with her husband more than 40 years at the time, and at first I did not cry. I kept working, kept preparing for the arrival of family.

Tears came later throughout the day as memories of past Thanksgivings when this couple had joined our family at our place and theirs. I thought of this friend — a former nun and later wife, a teacher, a volunteer in the community. I thought of how her life had been defined by giving love to the people around her and how it was reflected back by her friends and most especially her husband who had recently remarked that he was thankful for every second of their 40 years together.

My parents and sister are with us today for Thanksgiving. Our friend, now a widower, will join us for comfort food.

I got up early today, like many housewives around the country, to start cutting and chopping, drafting a list of chores for the kids to help with, and preparing tonight’s feast. Sometimes I question the sense of the over-the-top meal I prepare every year. It’s more food than we normally eat in a week, and surely there are ways to make it more casual.

This year, however, I don’t want it to be casual. I want it to be an over-the-top expression of how I thankful I am for the people in my life. Today I want to focus on who and what make life meaningful — creating, family, making even a small contribution to the common good. And as the onions and turkey brown while Grandma plays Monopoly with her mostly grown grandchildren who insist on keeping certain uproarious traditions going, I will be thankful for every second of it.