Author note: This poem was originally written two years ago. I realize that Thanksgiving was unique this year. However maybe we can use this to remember the good times past and hope for better times to come. . . .

This year the feast is at your house, and you will be the host.
You want it to be perfect, but not so you can boast;
It’s just with all the family, there will be quite a crowd
And you want serve a special meal to make the Pilgrim’s proud!

After weeks of careful planning, the day is finally here
And guest begin to all arrive and greet with festive cheer.
It’s then that all your careful plans begin to stretch and fray
And in alarm you start to doubt the outcome of this day.

It started with the Jell-O when it wouldn’t leave the mold,
Followed by the stuffing that was bland and rather cold.
The gravy should have been a snap but you got a lumpy goo;
Mom said it was hopeless and you knew her words were true.

With care you set the plates and cups and a centerpiece on the table,
But someone rearranged it all, and you suspect Aunt Mable!
For days you have been baking up a mix of delicious pies
But forgot somehow Gramp’s favorite which he notes with heavy sighs.

The rolls you made all straight from scratch in an effort to impress,
But they turned out hard as hockey pucks, much to your distress.
Brother John said he would bring potatoes, you said that would be great,
But now it’s time to start the meal and John is running late!

Through all of this, in utter bliss the children laugh and play
But in your mind your teeth you grind, they’re running in the way.
To top it off Sis hates your yams that’s what you overheard;
And now disaster strikes again, you just burned the festive bird!

Then suddenly it dawns on you, this day does not feel blessed.
The noise and pressure of it all has left you feeling stressed.
And yet, my wide-eyed, frazzled host, as you carve that dried-out jerky,
May gratitude grow in your heart—at least you’re not the turkey!

Ahhhh, perspective, what an interesting thing.  It affects our attitudes, beliefs, opinions, and actions.  I’m sure you know people that you would deem optimists or pessimists.  These people are who they are based on the perspective they use to view the world.

I have been accused a time or two of being a pessimist.  I disagree.  I am a realist.  A realist is found in the middle ground between pessimism and optimism.  I just say it like I see it—based on my perspective.  I was discussing this concept with a fellow realist the other day and he perfectly summed up our view of the world.  He said that the pessimist views the glass as half empty.  The optimist views it as half full.  And the realist?  The realist says the glass is simply twice as big as it needs to be!

The nice thing about perspective, though, is that it can change as you work on viewing things in a different light or from a different angle.  Sometimes we get tunnel vision and fail to see the bigger picture.  Even in our most trying circumstances there is usually something worthwhile to glean. 

This thought came forcibly to mind as the holiday season approaches.  This should be a time when we focus on gratitude, thankfulness, forgiveness, redemption, mercy, and new beginnings.  However, it is easy to get caught up in the party planning, food preparation, the buying and selling, the gift giving and receiving, the trappings and decorations and traditions.  And suddenly you have lost the proper perspective.  You end up feeling grumpy or stressed or disillusioned.  Perhaps it is time to stop and look at what is most important.  And then, perhaps, stop, and look again.

What a blessing.  After all, the turkey didn’t have that option.  Thankfully, we do.

Written: November 21, 2018

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