Just imagine the intense aroma of a turkey roasting in the oven overnight until it is so tender that the meat drops from the bone, apple and cherry pies cooling on the rack, corn on the cob, mashed potatoes and gravy, savory stuffing and a table set with sparkling crystal and gleaming china. A feast shared with close friends and family is indeed one of the blessings of life and a great cause to rejoice. We have so much to be thankful for in this season of plenty. It is good. It is very good.
I love to feed people. I know I get this from my dad. He was a cook in the army and makes the best soups that I have ever tasted (in vast quantities.) Even if you’ve just come from a meal he won’t let anybody leave his home until they have eaten something. (I was once visiting him when a couple of Jehovah Witnesses stopped by to proselytize and they preached their message as they ate a bowl of soup.)
My dad always liked to make elaborate late night snacks as well and, as a child, I was always his partner in crime. Unlike my sisters, I didn’t care if I put on a few pounds because it was our time to be together. From as early as I can remember I have always associated good food with well-being. This quote from M. F. K. Fisher expresses exactly how I feel, “It seems to me that our three basic needs for food and security and love are so mixed and mingled and entwined that we cannot straightly think of one without the others.”
One of my family’s favorite on-going charities to support is Doctors without Borders and I know some of the money they receive goes for food because food is medicine if one is starving. In one of their recent articles they had this quote from Mahatma Gandhi that struck me pretty hard. “There are people in the world so hungry that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread.“ How wonderful it would be if we could rid the world of hunger, and supply everyone their three basic needs of security, love and food.
However, since we won’t achieve a perfect world any time soon I suggest the following challenge, if your health permits. I decided that sometime during the month of November before Thanksgiving Day I am going to give myself and my kids the opportunity to see what it is like to fast for a whole day and to feel what it is to go hungry. We will end our fast by writing a check to a good End Hunger organization. The act of fasting means different things to many people but I see it as a character and compassion strengthening exercise. As a child, after I turned 8 years old, I was required to fast once a month–24 hours without food or drink from lunch to lunch. I must admit I was not sad to leave that tradition behind when I left that church but I do have vivid memories of feeling very grateful for food of any sort after our family fasts. It isn’t easy to fast for 24 hours but I don’t think there is a quicker way to remind ourselves (and teach our kids) how good we have it here in this country on a real foundational level. Bless us all and happy Thanksgiving!
Janen Wright, Director of Faith Development