Is this our fourth Thanksgiving in China? I think it was! I can’t quite believe it! But now, we know how to do it. There definitely is a learning curve. Part of that learning curve involves knowing what to hold on to, and part of it involves learning what to let go of. I recently read an exercise for a Thanksgiving meditation, suggested by Crown Ministries. It is this: write down everything you are thankful for on a sheet of paper. Then, cross off everything that involves money. This doesn’t mean that we aren’t thankful for the things that money can buy, but it can be surprising what is left when we cross off those items.
When we have Thanksgiving in China, those same things are the things that we primarily let go of at Thanksgiving. For instance, when one cannot access a turkey at Thanksgiving, it becomes readily apparent that one can have an equally meaningful Thanksgiving celebration with Magi Xia and Gan Bian Si Ji Dou (Shrimp with magi sauce and Green beans served with pork sausage on top). We become acutely aware that the celebration is not about a turkey, but rather the abundant blessing that a turkey represents.
At Thanksgiving time, I find myself especially thinking of, and thankful for, my family and friends. I don’t know whether it’s a process associated with aging, or if it’s because we are in an environment where "adventure" tends to be a bit too much sometimes and leaves one pining for home and familiar things. But for one reason or another, my values at this point in my life are clearly focused on my friends and family, and what they (you) mean to me. It seems to me that part of what it means to be human is to be woven into the tapestry of life through our relationships with each other. A person isolated is a person unhappy, in need, and likely depressed. I am thankful that I am anything but! Thank you (yes, YOU!) for weaving me into the web of your life!