Venerated, sacred, good, devoted to. These are the words listed under the dictionary definition of "holy."
Thanksgiving is a rare holiday--it's non denominational and crosses into ecumenical realms as well as being observed separately from religion. It's a beautiful American holiday when we open our homes to others to share and celebrate a day spent centered on history, family, and our need to give thanks.
When I was little, I used to call Thanksgiving "practice." I would tell my grandmother that it gets people "practicing" being nice before the holidays begin. I still think of it that way. Warming up to start anew. Refining ourselves and polishing up our act a bit--rubbing off some of the selfish that serves no one.
We give thanks and concentrate on the gratitude. It's when we put on the glasses of gratefulness that we see the blessings we were too blind to notice before we corrected our vision.
Earlier this week, I had to take my youngest in for an annual blood draw. It's something he's had to do every year since he was two. He doesn't like it, but he knows he has to do it. He always tells me on the morning of our appointment that he's going to be brave this time, but when we arrive at the hospital, he gets quiet.
While we were waiting for his name to be called with this last visit, a small girl came over, sliding next to us to watch Grover singing on Sesame Street on the TV monitor mounted on the wall. She stared at my son who was leaning against my shoulder and asked him, "Do you have diabetes, too?" My son looked at me, not knowing how to answer.
I prodded him, "Go ahead, honey, tell her why you're here. So she knows."
"No, I'm here for something else ..." and his voice just stopped. I could tell he knew to say more, but didn't know what.
"No, honey," I looked at her pretty face. "We're here for something else. Are you here for a diabetes check?"
"Yeah. I've been here since this morning. I have to stay here all day till they say I'm done. I had to come yesterday, too."
"Oh. Well, you are as brave as my son. You both are so brave."
Her parents called her back, and she left us.
Soon it was our turn, and I held my son on my lap as they drew his blood. It was over quickly, but that didn't lessen his anxiousness. We waved to the little girl as we left the lab and I took my boy to the pharmacy next door, where they have penny candy and little white sacks that I let my son fill until he feels there's enough Swedish Fish and Nerds and Twizzlers to make him feel right again.
We drove home quietly, the only sound in the car the rustling of his paper sack as he fishes out his favorite candy.
"Nothing like a trip to the hospital to change your perspective. Yesterday I felt so sad that I have to do this every year and my friends don't. But then we saw that girl, and she has to come all the time. I'm really lucky."
I was quiet while the wisdom of this ten-year-old boy settled over me. He knows more now than grown people learn in a lifetime.
"Yes, baby, sometimes we're lucky, and we don't even know it."
Happy Thanksgiving to all of you, and I wish you moments in life of finding yourself feeling just how fortunate we all are.