Redirecting Our Energy
For me, November serves up a heaping portion of gratitude along with a side of gloom. In preparing to gather together with loved ones around a table filled with family favorites, I’m acutely aware of all that I have to be thankful for. With that comes an equal sentient of those who are less fortunate.
As a parent, I’m hypersensitive to the reality of apathy and entitlement present in our world today. On almost a daily basis, I urge my daughters to find the positive in a negative situation and embrace all that is good. Psalms 103—107 speak repeatedly of God’s goodness and implore us to be thankful.
When my girls were younger, I often corrected them for saying, “I’m starving.” My standard response? “While you may be hungry, perhaps even very hungry, you are NOT starving.” Then I’d explain the unfortunate reality that many do experience the gut-wrenching hunger that defines starving. Now, as we’re all adults, it’s become kind of a joke in our house: “Don’t say the ‘s’ word!” They’ve even groomed their friends and younger Fr. William J. Byron, SJ, a priest of the Society of Jesus, is the author of Liguorian’s series on the principles of Catholic social teaching. He has written more than twelve books. Jeanne Conte is a writer and photographer living in Ohio whose work has appeared in publications throughout the world. She is also the author of two books about Christmas, which are available on Amazon.com. Stephanie Gibeault has an academic background in animal behavior and currently divides her work time between dog training and freelance writing. Her hobbies include photography and tap dancing. stepsiblings to understand the difference. But in all seriousness, I’d like to think: They get it.
As we prepare for our Thanksgiving get-togethers, it’s easy to become consumed by the logistics of the meal: The angst of whether to fry or bake, stuffed or unstuffed, or brine and/or baste the turkey. Rice, bread, or corn bread stuffing? (Did you know it’s only called stuffing if it’s cooked inside the bird? Otherwise, the proper word is dressing .) Giblet or plain gravy? And I won’t even delve into the delicate topic of desserts.
I suggest we redirect our energy. Let us summon our hearts to be filled with the psalmist’s sentiment of thanksgiving and prayers for those who don’t have a bed to sleep in or a kitchen where they can gather. Typically this time of year affords many opportunities to give and serve. Reflect on the words of Steve Maraboli, author of Life, the Truth, and Being Free : “A kind gesture can reach a wound that only compassion can heal.”