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How to Have a Happy Thanksgiving - Political Parlor

How to Have a Happy Thanksgiving

Perhaps I am attempting the impossible…but maybe it will make more sense if I first tell you about my day.

I started this morning feeling happy and filled with plans. My son is coming home from university for Thanksgiving break tomorrow afternoon and I was determined to run errands today so I’d be free tomorrow to take my daughter to her music lesson and then straighten the house and prepare a nice homecoming supper for my boy. I dropped off a package to be mailed and exchanged an item at the hardware store. Things were going really smoothly until I got to the bank and discovered that my bank card and ID were missing.

The bank manager was helpful and we were able to determine where I’d last used my card. It’s a good thing his computer knew because my brain had temporarily ceased to function. There was a worried call to my husband. A call to the last place I’d used the card. A decision to cancel the bank card and have a new one issued. A call back from the last place I’d used the card and a series of calls and texts with my husband.

Then I drove home, checked the pocket of something I’d worn two days ago, and found the bank card and the ID.

Yes, I felt like an idiot. (Or maybe a turkey?) I never put my ID in my pocket like that but had decided to make a quick stop someplace that I didn’t want to carry my wallet. Obviously routines are important to my daily function and anyone wanting to destroy my life need only force me out of my routine to reduce my brain to mashed potatoes.

But even though I felt like an idiot, I was one thankful idiot! Most days I take for granted that I’ll have what I need to get through the day. Funny how an hour or so of not having some mundane thing makes a body thankful for having it! And by the way, despite being thrown out of my routine and slightly freaked out over thinking my ID had disappeared, I ended up rocking the rest of my to-do list and having a great day. Whew!

Now, I’m not suggesting you lose your bank card in order to be happier this Thanksgiving. Perhaps you can just be thankful you’re not as absent-minded as I am. I will, however, suggest that being a little more mindful of the reasons we have to be thankful can make for a better Thanksgiving celebration.

I’ll also suggest that all of the running around and cooking and cleaning, however lovingly intended, does not make or break Thanksgiving. What makes the day special and happy, far and away, is the people with whom you celebrate. I’ll be with my family. Some of my friends choose to celebrate their friendship on Thanksgiving. People who might otherwise be alone choose to express their gratitude by serving those less fortunate and helping them celebrate. Military, public safety, and medical personnel often spend the day protecting and serving strangers.

When I’m discouraged with life, fearing that I’m a turkey and I don’t measure up, or feeling that things just aren’t fair, I find that serving and caring for others lifts my spirits. I’m reminded that I have gifts to offer to the world. I’m reminded of how much I have received. I’m reminded that it truly is more blessed to give. I’m reminded to be grateful.

So if you want to have a happy Thanksgiving, choose gratitude and service. Choose to give to others and to be grateful for what you’ve received. Focus on your blessings, especially the small ones, rather than comparing them to what you think somebody else has. Don’t worry as much about your table setting, the condition of your home, how everyone is dressed, or if your menu is Pinterest-worthy. Those things are just gravy. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist.) What is important isn’t “what” at all.

I hope you spend your Thanksgiving holiday surrounded by very important people: family, old friends and new ones, colleagues, or those who may need you to serve them. I hope you are aware of how valuable you are and how much you have to give as well as how much you have received. May God bless you richly! And may He extend a special blessing to the military, public safety, and medical personnel who must spend their holiday away from their loved ones in order to care for, serve, and protect the community. I am thankful for all of you!

Who are you loving, caring for, or serving this Thanksgiving? Why are you giving thanks?

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