It was another typical morning for my niece. Once again, she was running behind, having spent way too much time getting ready. So out of the door she got ready to run, without eating breakfast. When I insisted she grab a breakfast bar, she said they were out. Of course, I’d already looked through my sister’s pantry the night before, just checking out what was there. So I’d already seen a brand new box of my new favorite, BelVita breakfast bars. She admitted she’d forgotten they had just purchased some, and grabbed one before leaving. As she did, my final words to her “It would be too ironic for you to be serving a meal to those who don’t have any food; and then you pass out from not eating, even though you DO have food!”
You see, my 17 year old niece was doing something I was very proud of — spending her Thanksgiving morning, along with her mom, serving meals at her church to those who didn’t have the means to buy, prepare and enjoy their own. They do more than just serve the food; they also spend time with those families and others who stop by.
Sometimes, I think my nieces and nephews don’t consciously think about what they have available to them every single day. I suppose it’s something we all can be guilty of at one time or another. Just last night, a nephew who had been visiting that evening, wanted my sister to stop by McDonalds on the way back home. Yes, it was way past dinnertime, and she should have prepared him something to eat. But, the fact that she had already told him she didn’t have any money on her, AND that they had plenty of food back at home where they were heading, didn’t phase him. He still wanted to stop and get something from a fast food restaurant; inspire of the fact that he didn’t have any money on him either.
I don’t know what decision she made once she got into the car and headed home. But I really hope she drove straight there and made him eat something they already had in the house.
I thought also about how many times we give in to the “easy,” with no thought of the practical. We go to fast food restaurants, order take out, have pizza delivered (one of the first things my nephew wanted earlier in the day) — all while our pantries are full; refrigerators well-stocked; and cabinets hold all of the extra snacks for those movie nights and drop by friend moments, without giving it a second thought. I would argue that unless one of “those” commercials come on during our favorite sitcom, we don’t regularly think about how many families aren’t warm and sitting in front of TV enjoying the latest episode of anything. Or how many are going to bed at night just as hungry as they were that morning?
Thanksgiving is a time when we can sometimes feel guilty about all of the things we have — the food, the family, our time with family and friends — especially as we’re reminded about how little others may have. I don’t want to walk around beating myself or anyone else up over the head, feeling bad about blessings that may have been bestowed upon us. But I do wish that we all could work harder to appreciate what we have; remember to thank Who it is who gave it to us, and allows us to have it; and be more open to share our blessings with others. I include myself in that group.
“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18