So when I said in the last post that we have ushered in the holiday season, I was a little pre-emptive. Today we officially opened our arms to the joy and celebration of the holidays here at Saint Francis Inn!
We served 357 people today at our Thanksgiving meal! We made all the fix-ins at the Inn and had the turkey catered by Boston Market... apparently it is just too much to cook 20 turkeys on Thanksgiving Day! The meal seemed to go well (although I was outside on bathroom duty) and there also seemed to be a pleasantness about everyone as they entered our doors. There must just be something about the holidays that makes everyone cheerful (at least those in these parts)!
I got to spend the day outside talking to guests around the yard, which is always an interesting job, and was able to greet a lot of people and wish them a Happy Thanksgiving! I asked one particular guests how he was doing today and his response was, "I'm blessed because I woke up today". In the spirit of gratitude, this was a beautiful thing to hear. But this response wasn't atypical for this man. On a daily basis I am confronted with this response which reminds me of my own blessings and the simple gift of life. I guess when you have very little else, the least you can be grateful for is your life. You would think it would be significantly easier for those of us that are materially wealthy to be thankful for such simple things, but I'm finding that it's even harder. I have food, a house, clothes, security, family, friends, love... and I am constantly reminded by the guests that I also have life.
While I very much missed seeing my own family on Thanksgiving, I am so grateful that I got to spend it with my family here. The love and peace that I experienced today made me feel at home. In my time in the yard today, I got to talking to Rambo, a guest I've mentioned before, which always proves to be a good time. Well, recently I've had to talk Rambo out of committing suicide. I don't think he'd ever really follow through and perhaps he says it because he knows I'll talk to him more if he does, but either way, I spend a lot of time telling him that his super-human strength and his bones and muscles made of different-galaxy metal are essential to keeping us safe at the Inn. But I asked Rambo if his mother was cooking dinner and he said "Yes, but my family is here." He's right. I've learned so much about love from Rambo and now I can't end a conversation with him without saying "I love you". Family is not defined by bloodlines, but defined by love.
We had our own Thanksgiving after the big meal and it was a pot-luck where everyone brought something different! Emily and I made desserts yesterday (chocolate trifle, pecan pie and pumpkin cake) and then Emily, Maureen and I went to Michael's house last night to help him make his famous apple pie! On top of all the real Thanksgiving food, I ate way too much dessert and will be recovering for a few days!
Like I said, Thanksgiving is just not the same when it's not spent with your own family, but my definition of family is widening and am so blessed to find more family here. I have so much to be thankful for and I hope to have that attitude of gratitude long after today.
I hope you all had a wonderful day with your families! Love and peace are sent your way!