Our annual Holiday Season here in New England usually begins with our traditional Thanksgiving Day dinner — usually a roasted Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, cranberry sauce and sweet potatoes or squash. Green vegetables are according to each families taste — green bean casserole, roasted Brussels sprouts, creamed spinach, asparagus or even Lima beans. There is always a surfeit of foodstuffs and something to pique everyone’s taste-buds.
The kitchen smells wonderfully fragrant with the hearty aroma of the roasting turkey, vegetables bubbling or baking, all of the pastries sitting on the counter each creating a halo of sweet or savory memories. Fancy chocolates are in dainty plates, mixed nuts in bowls, delicate cinnamon pastries stacked high, platters of hearty wedges of cheese and crisp wafers sit side-by-side ready to be enjoyed with a glass of wine or a sweet sangria. When folks arrive there are hugs and kisses exchanged — especially to those who have traveled from afar to be part of the celebration. Coats and hats are dispersed to upstairs rooms, extra chairs are placed in every room so conversations can be shared about the past year, remembering past holidays and sharing current family news. Laughter erupts from every corner as everyone is embraced and relaxes into the comfortable rhythm of this annual festivity of family reunion and love.
Family — the sound evokes a deep feeling of longing and belonging — “We are Family” — how lucky are we to have those people in our lives that will always be there for us? As humanity evolved, it was apparent that survival depended on the group, clan, tribe, band of brothers and sisters who would be there for us in good times, but most importantly in times of need, or tragedy — in fair weather and foul. As a species we wouldn’t have evolved into today’s homo sapiens without the help and love of others of our kind. We endured danger and difficulty throughout the ages and finally we thrived as our species grew ever stronger. We are made of stern stuff — the right stuff. We survived because of each other and our bond to our indigenous tribe. We began our family groups that watched out for each other, helped each other and loved each other.
In today’s modern world people travel for their jobs, for a better standard of living, for better weather and for a multitude of reasons too numerous to mention. Our clan or tribe has been changing in its nature with the ability of man to travel vast distances. However, there are times when there is a basic need, indeed an inner yearning to come together — to touch base — to bring the “Family” together! Our yearly traditions are those times that we gather as family to renew our bonds, make contact with our elders, look upon the newest members that have joined our group whether through marriage or birth, and we feel the ancient connection to our ancestors deep within our psyches. Parents, children, grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, cousins, spouses, and those we bring into our realm with love and tenderness. All become an integral part of who we are — all have a karmic lesson to teach us or a lesson to learn from us — there is an ebb and flow of knowledge, lore, tradition, talent, and the undeniable fact that without these loved ones, our lives would be filled with less light, less love, and less humanity! Overcoming individual differences, spirits, ideologies, biases and personalities — we still connect on a primeval level of understanding, acceptance and family love.
As we come together to share this intimate moment in time, this traditional harvest feast, this ritual of unconditional commitment to each other, we are humbled by our emotional response to each and every individual who has helped to bring us to this special interval. Our love fills our hearts with thankfulness that we belong to this group — this tribe — this clan — this unique family! As we look around the table that is overflowing with nature’s bounty — each and every person has their place in our lives forever — it is our karma to be here with them to celebrate our survival as a species and as members of this magnificent family group. We are loved – we are family — we belong!
Take some time during this wonderful season of hope, caring and love to feel how connected, how linked, how “related” we all are as family and as the family of Man. This small blue planet we call Earth is fragile and tenuous in its ability to sustain our species — we must treat our planet gently and with great foresight — our survival depends on it. We are also a fragile species — so we must always be aware that life can change in a heartbeat — nothing is guaranteed — no one lives forever — but we know that our love of family and friends will never die!
I am so thankful for all the blessings and people in my life — they help keep me strong, they help me be caring, they bring me joy, they comfort me, they love me just because — and in turn they have my everlasting love throughout the infinity of time and space.
Our prayers go out to the people of France as they come to grips with the horrendous attack that killed or injured so many innocents. May their spirits be free — may they find some comfort in knowing the world stands with them throughout this ordeal. Peace!