For my loved ones on Thanksgiving.
I feel deeply grateful today, and really, every day, but I am glad that we have decided that there can at least be one day a year set aside for remembering goodness, remembering gifts, remembering, even, that we might have had a hand in all this magic.
I hold nothing but love for the people at this table. The stories which we always tell, the narrator the star, the other as hero or villain, or both, or neither, these stories have changed in rhythm and depth for me lately.
The childhood I once knew is not the one I now carry in my heart. In this heart, I know of some struggle and trouble, sure, and it seems the trickier things have faded into a gentle hum that very rarely disturbs, especially on a day like today.
I know you now, my family, and while sheltering here awhile, you I see as great energetic giants.
I have come to know myself as a bigger light than I’d guessed, and yet, I am small, I am but one now, here, in company.
We, each of us, are brilliant diamonds, and I could not have chosen a better group of people to push, and be pushed against, all these decades.
Each of you has had to be stronger than you can appreciate. We set up so many dances, so many trials, and each one of them proved that you were here deliberately, on purpose. You showed up, and you did well, even if your job was to sit on your hands while I ran blindly into walls.
You did well.
I know that what is here, in front of us this day, is a tasty, earnest symbol of love, tenderness, and forgiveness. It is a table heavy with pleasure and kindness and generosity and delight and high regard.
I could not have ended this run on a sweeter note.
But the solstice is soon. A solstice I have been waiting for, that we all have been waiting for, consciously or not.
I know this to be the beginning to a new way of appreciating every day, and that entails, I think, coming to see every day as if it is Thanksgiving.
If that’s a decision I make, to live in vivid thanks, would it be such a bad thing? if I chose to make every day Thanksgiving?
In any case, with these new eyes of mine, I can appreciate gifts and needs in my family I couldn’t before, and I hope you find this change inside me translates into you knowing ever more gentleness, more forbearance from me.
This is, after all, a family, so there will always be times when we are too much for each other, but even that can be recognized in love, in humor.
I think about how everyone is deepening and strengthening in front of me, and I want to share what it was like to watch Sam dance last week. It was the biggest blessing I’ve ever received, and I want to share it as a reminder of how important it is to never assume that what you think about someone is true.
What he did proved to me that I need to listen and obey, more and more, the guidance within me. On this matter, it says, Let people tell you what they know to be true. Let them show you who they are. Make it safe for the one before you. Allow them to know how accepted they are.
Do it well enough, and maybe someone like Sam will risk giving you something rare and stunning. And if that happens, you will know you have attained a tender and soft heart which speaks to those you love.
Sam said that for a couple of weeks he had this urge to dance. I can remember him talking about it, but neither of us did much in the way of follow through. Through the weeks, he would mention his seemingly random urge, and I would lazily tell him he should look up Tai Chi on youtube, or look up dance classes close to home.
So much for my mothering skills, poor kid.
This ended last week, right at bedtime, one night. Sam again said that he was really urged to dance. He said he needed to do it right now. We decided to record him doing it.
He picked out his favorite song for it, a Celtic lullaby.
The music started, the camera started, and Sam began.
Fluidly, with a singularity and sweet strength that was as ancient as it was new to me, this boy began to sway and move. His arms moved in a way that was nothing less than poetic, lyrical. His movements glided, and then, here, in his arms, he held the earth, loved it, balanced it, and sent it away.
I could see him turn into this old old man, with long white beard, bald, long white back-of-the-head-hair, long fingernails, white diaper type thing, rocking on this leg, now, steadily, moving slowly and purposefully and joyfully, now that leg, now hold, now move, now release, now bless.
This was an amazing event I was watching. If you’ve ever watched brilliant Kung Fu, or Tai Chi masters, or someone speaking the Light Language, you know what I am talking about. Such grace! He was ancient! He was blessing the earth, letting the earth bless him.
It was intimate and it was universal.
Toward the end, I just kept thinking, “My god, this kid is a magician,” over and over again.
Then he was done. He had felt his heart beat fast while doing it, he told me, and he said he was told, “Just go with it,” and he did, and he was fine.
He looked exhilarated, altered, really relieved, proud, and happy. And then, twelve-year old that he is, he sat down and started playing Minecraft again. Business as usual.
But that night, right before he drifted off, I thanked him for that dance, and I told him, I kept thinking about this Asian dude when you were dancing. I asked him if he’d like me to describe what I saw, so I went into detail, what his fingernails looked like, the other-worldly feel of him, his eyes half closed. I described it all.
Sam, just as matter of fact as anything, said, “Oh, yeah. That’s who I used to be. He was like Jesus, but it was a really really long time ago.” And then he rolled over and, boom, he was fast asleep.
Until last week, I didn’t know I was living with an ancient. Sure, I suspected it, but I didn’t know it. Now, each of you, around this table, can be in any degree of shock, awe, surprise or fear when thinking about this event, then peeking at Sam at this table.
Funny how each of us is a secret, even to ourselves, and every day the secret is just as content to hide in plain sight as it is to be discovered. It doesn’t have to do a thing.
We just have to notice it.
It’s true whether we call it truth or lie. It is there, whether we use it every day or never acknowledge its existence.
We, each of us, are giants at this table, doing our best to love ourselves and each other, managing our stupid amnesia as best we can, and now, today, giving over to a day of rest, thanks, and ease, while we eat and talk and laugh and give thanks.
I thank each of you for what you have given me.
I want you to know that I can see you now.
I love you, always have, always will, but I appreciate you now.
I recognize you and I am here, in this flesh, telling you with this tongue fed by these happy hands, minded by this open heart, that I am forever grateful, forever thankful, for everything you have been, are, and ever will be to me.
Thank you for loving me so well, so long, and so much.