“Above all, let us not forget to thank: if we are bearers of gratitude, the world itself will become better, even if only a little bit, but that is enough to transmit a bit of hope.”

Pope Francis

Our stove decided to break yesterday afternoon. It’s a good thing there’s no family-focused holiday involving a day of cooking coming soon. After watching several YouTube videos that confirmed I would require a service technician, my attention turned to figuring out how to feed my finicky children. Pizza? No, that was the day before. Go-to take-out spot number 2? Closed due to labor shortages. Chipotle? We had tons of gift cards. No delivery, only pick-up. Now my huffing and puffing began. I got in my car and drove the two minutes only to have the one remaining worker flip the "Closed" sign at 5pm for some undisclosed reason. I released a loud, guttural yell in the privacy of my car, begging the patron saint of DoorDash for his or her intercession. None of the few available options would meet the varied and high maintenance needs of my hungry party of six. I finally headed to my last resort…the grocery store, on a Sunday evening, before Thanksgiving. In utter despair with my situation, I indiscriminately threw multiple microwavable options for each diner into my cart and headed to the checkout. As I began placing my cornucopia on the conveyer belt, the woman in front of me observed my selections. "Looks like you’re having a party," she commented. "Just my picky children," I retorted. "That’s the best party. You’re blessed to still have them around your table," she said with a sad smile. "I miss that party." I smiled back as she took her receipt and pushed her small cart forward.

As I drove home, I couldn’t shake the woman’s longing glance at my grocery cart. I thought about my mindset entering that store and how much of a burden I considered Sunday dinner with my family to be; how "frustrating" it was to have to purchase multiple prepared meals to enjoy in the warmth of my home, surrounded by my family. It made me wonder, whether in my faith, work, or life, how does my journey to the table affect how I experience the table? Despite the challenges or the effort involved, do I take my seat with gratitude for what’s before me and around me, or am I too consumed by what it took for me to get there? When I come to the Lord’s table, is it more about my sacrifice or His? As we race around to prepare whatever table we might come to this Thanksgiving, lets pray that the Lord prepares our hearts to be abundant with gratitude so we don’t miss the party He hosts all around us every day.

by Daniel Cellucci

November 22, 2021

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