Life Musings

Thanksgiving (without) malaria

     Light filters through the windows, spiderwebs glisten in the shimmery softness and stillness. The house is empty and I have yet to get dressed, an afternoon of comfort, of Thanksgiving. I am alone, curled in my favorite cozy chair, newspapers and books, journals and empty cups and plates scattered all around. Music plays and text message greetings ring out with gratitude: Thank You. Thank you for being, for loving, for sharing, for laughing, for showing up.

     Today is sacred. Today is more than turkey, more than survival, more than historical reinvention. It is more than a place, more than a collection of recipes and more than cheap department store sales.

Today used to mean bustling family chaos, a house full of aunts and cousins, boyfriends and grandparents. It used  to mean bodies spread out on the spacious living room floor, a crackling fireplace to cozy up to, and driving through neighborhoods of Christmas lights, crowded backseat laughter, contagious and constant. It used to mean dressing up like pilgrims and placing feathers in our hair, wearing our most flow-y outfits, and sneaking into the kitchen for midnight snacks of left-over ham and pie. It used to mean four girls sleeping in one King sized bed, coffee with Grandma, and game night.
Grown-up kid cousins.
At the Grandparents’, 2012

      Last year, Thanksgiving meant gathering around a florescent lit gas-station table and sharing Hawaiian pizza without the pineapple. It meant malaria fever dreams and new friends and family. It meant giving thanks for electricity when we had it and laughing by candlelight when we didn’t. It meant buying Christmas cards in 90 degree weather and writing long letters home. It meant static long-distance Skype phone calls and eating a lot of fried rice.
Matthias and I, eating joloff prepared by our students.
Teiman, 2013

       This year Thanksgiving means celebrating with my sisters who are not only once again in the same country, but in the same city. It means first attempts at preparing the Big Bird, wearing our pajamas all day, and doing yoga. It means sharing bottles of wine with friends, celebrating with the ones who are close, and thinking of the ones who are not. It means community and consciousness and Grace.

       Today is when all of our daily practices of gratitude blossom together and form a beautiful bouquet of contentment. Today is a day for letting go of expectation and comparison. It is a day for releasing old traditions and embracing spontaneity. It is a day to celebrate the home we have made in each other, a day to be grateful for hearts knit together in Love and Light. It’s a day to cherish the warmth of the sun, to lay silently and prayerfully in hopeful anticipation for the blessings yet to come.

      Today is a day when I say out loud and often: Thank You. Thank you Universe for blessing abundantly, undeservedly. Thank you loved ones for sharing the journey, for commiserating and encouraging. Thank you Spirit for abiding, for teaching and molding and shaping. Thank you friends for supporting and holding and reaching your hands toward mine. Thank you for another year of laughter and lessons filled with goodbyes and hellos and many more “see you soons.” Here’s to another year of blessing filled with more gratitude and joy than our hearts can contain. <3TheBarefootBeat
hanksgiving in Nashville, 2014

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