It’s Wednesday night before Thanksgiving and I’ve been cooking and cleaning all day for our Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow. For months we planned to spend Thanksgiving in Nashville with two of our daughters and their families. Last week we needed to re-think our plans in light of the Pandemic, so this year we are going to enjoy Thanksgiving with the people who live in our house. I’ve been thinking all day about how much I have to be grateful for and what I wanted to share with you at a time when we are celebrating blessings, gratitude and Thanksgiving. It’s been on my mind all day how much we individually matter.
A hundred years ago my great-grandfather lived on a ranch in Idaho with his wife and 5 children. His wife was expecting their sixth child. It was 1918 and they were in the middle of a pandemic. On Christmas Day 1918, a man came to their back door and asked for food because he was hungry. My great-grandfather invited him to dinner. I don’t know if he knew the guest was sick or not, but about 10 days later my great-grandfather passed away due to the influenza. The family was quarantined and weren’t allowed to attend the funeral.
His story has been told for 5 generations in my family. My grandmother missed her father deeply and talked about him often, and wondered “what if” there had been a different ending to that story. My Dad talked about his grandfather because his mother talked about him frequently. I know and tell my great-grandfather’s story, and so do all my siblings. His story caused me to be curious about the 1918 pandemic and to read and learn about it, which has come in handy this year. I’ve told his story several times during this pandemic to emphasize how important each person in a family is and how much they would be missed for generations after they are gone.
I don’t think we realize how much we mean to our family or our friends or the people we work with. You remember the story, “It’s A Wonderful Life” where George Bailey was shown by his guardian angel what his town would have been like if he hadn’t been there. It’s hard to step outside ourselves and see how we, just being ourselves, impact others in little ways that we can’t begin to imagine. This year I am grateful that each of you are you and how you love and care for those around you in small and simple ways that you don’t even realize. You would be missed if you weren’t here. Think about that for a minute.
You are important. You are irreplaceable. There is no one else alive that can be you. I am grateful for each of you just to be YOU!
Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you will have a wonderful celebration – if it’s just you or if you are able to gather with family.