Happy Thanksgiving

I have always loved the Thanksgiving Holiday. When I was little, the tradition was to watch the Macy’s Day Thanksgiving Parade and then dinner consisted of not just turkey, but lasagna. My dad had to bring that Italian heritage to the table on even an “American” holiday.

When I moved off the East Coast, that tradition of watching the parade faded away because of the time difference and other priorities. When I was raising my own family, we always did the same thing on Thanksgiving. We might invite others to our table, but the tradition was a family turkey dinner. I remember one Thanksgiving, we turned the whole thing around and headed to a remote cabin in the woods with another family and had quite the primitive Thanksgiving around a pot belly stove, bringing our familiar food dishes from home and snuggling in front of that stove which was the only heat. We slept in sleeping bags on the floor and had the best time. In fact, it was one of my favorite Thanksgivings. I think we were just longing for change and something different, which brings me to what I am feeling today.

It is that longing we sometimes have for tradition and sameness on the Holidays. I’ve come to realize that it is impossible for me to experience that sameness anymore. Perhaps it is the way I have found to adapt to my mobile every changing life. I’ve moved so many times, have had friends come and go, and do not live near my birth family or the family I reared. And, everyone is so spread across the country that it has not been the choice to come together in one place.

And so instead of longing for that sameness, I’ve kept the feeling that accompanies Thanksgiving, which is gratitude and have found ways to enjoy the day wherever I am. I still feel the deep connection to life, love and family, but in a more soul way. I do not think I’ve had a Thanksgiving that has been the same in over 25 years. Each one has been new, different and yet still filled with the traditional feelings of this favorite Holiday of mine.

So maybe tradition is not about being with the same people every year, but more about the feeling behind the Holiday. The love that I feel right now. The gratitude that I can choose to feel right now wherever I am and whatever I am experiencing.

I think Thanksgiving is a feeling. Just like God, it is not a person, but a Principle. Thanksgiving is a Principle, something we can practice today and everyday. I understand that life doesn’t stay the same. Families can’t always be together. People die, move and change. The only thing that we can truly count on is that the love within us, the gratitude that we choose to practice will place us in exactly the right place, not just on this Holiday, but everyday.

We are just where we are meant to be with exactly the right people all the time. It’s all consciousness, and a consciousness of gratitude as Ernest Holmes wrote, is “most salutary and bespeaks the realization that we are now in heaven.”

So, whether we choose to experience a traditional Thanksgiving with our family or friends every year, or whether you are more like me – always in motion, our consciousness of Thanksgiving can place us in heaven wherever we are. I am in heaven today and grateful to be here.

Love and Aloha,

Rev. Rita

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