A Thanksgiving Reflection by Joni Woelfel
From Craving Hope: A Spiritual Companion on Your Weight Loss Journey
Used with permission: www.actapublications.com
Feasts of the Heart, Day 63, pages 168-169
To share a meal is to change one’s heart. Think about the meals you have shared in people’s homes. You feel welcome; you become connected. That is the last supper being repeated again and again. I believe these experiences feed our spiritual lives, too. If we are accustomed to feasting well, we will be able to celebrate well. If we struggle with feasting, we will struggle with celebrating. No matter how we do it, celebrating and God are very close. –Father Jim Vlaun (Feasts of Life, www.catholicbookpublishing.com )
Celebrating good times with food in the company of loved ones is a beautiful experience. In particular I recall Thanksgiving dinners as a child spent gathered around my grandma’s oak table with the claw feet in her dining room on the farm. I remember the aroma of roast turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn, olives and dill pickles, Waldorf salad, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, grandma’s homemade rolls—laughter, sheer happiness and the faces of all those dear family members, many now gone. I remember the squeak of the wooden chairs, the pheasant motif on her frosted water glasses, the clink of silverware and how merry and pleasingly plump Grandma was in her calico apron. How lovely to be immersed in luminous memories such as this.
Adult habits generally evolve out of childhood practices and sometimes celebrating life can become too connected with overindulging. Like anything else, we need to keep it in balance, but have you ever wondered, “Is pleasingly plump the definition of someone who needs to be on a diet?” Would it even cross our minds to want to change someone like a beloved grandma who was the embodiment of fullness of spirit and joy and whose wrinkles were like soft folds just waiting to be hugged? Would we refuse to allow ourselves to embody old age and a life well lived in such a way? It’s food for thought, isn’t it?
Reflection Question: What are your favorite memories of food and meals shared with loved ones as a child? What aromas, colors, sounds and flavors come back to you? Who was there? How has this become a part of your history and relationship with food?
Affirmation: “You prepare a table before me…you anoint my head with oil, my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord my whole long life.” -Psalm 23: 5-6
Dear God: I have never forgotten feasts of the heart that have shaped my life. I thank you for the sacred memories that speak to me still of many things.
Daily Mantra: I will revel in the many feasts to come.