Giving Thanks: Reflecting On A Job Well Done

I thought of you on Thanksgiving night as I was getting into bed after a day of cooking and preparimg for dinner, and an evening of eating and entertaining, sitting at the head of my own dining table against the windows. This year I hosted Thanksgiving dinner at my home. It was my girlfriend and I plus her teenage son, my roommate, and a couple of friends. Before I slipped into my food coma, I thought that here was a truly universal moment of joy – the awareness that the whole annual exercise of giving thanks had gone so satisfyingly well. The shopping- and turkey-related stresses were behind us. Though not forgotten, they were outweighed by the enjoyment of the evening. They were both part of the results. The results were in the experience itself.

My Thanksgiving “family” for this year all enjoyed one another in my home. My home was specially decorated and prepared to receive them. We shared good food, and a surprising blend of approaches, styles and flavors. Everything flowed. People were honored to be here with me, and each one of us showed up, contributed something that was ours to give, and were probably surprised when others found it to be more significant than we ourselves would have believed it was. What we gave came less from stress, and more from strength and self-expression.

Yes, giving thanks was a great job this year. With it, my girlfriend and I grew closer, embarking on a project together for the first time in real partnership. Existing relationships were honored, and given a chance to grow through sharing a special American holiday. We each put another success behind us, and learned some new skills or discovered some capabilities along the way, maybe even some areas we can improve upon the next time. I made turkey and stuffing from my go-to recipe in the America’s Test Kitchen cookbook for the third time in my life. My girlfriend improvised a handful of complex side dishes. Before I was done, I had made turkey and stuffing, mashed potatoes, and pie – more work than it even felt like. I was blown away by the food, the company, and the fun we had.

It only takes a moment to recognize the success of your project, and the outcomes of your efforts, but sometimes a moment is all you have before these connections are forgotten. Hopefully, you all felt that same, deeper satisfaction beyond the full and drowsy feeling on Thanksgiving night – and are able to remember it now.


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