In a twenty-four hour span I had two experiences that put the spirit of all that I hold dear about Thanksgiving into perspective once again. I share these two experiences with you to remind us all for which we are all thankful.
One late afternoon I was cooking supper when there was a knock at my door. I opened the door and there they stood: two young Mormon missionaries. I have to admit my first thought was, “I don’t have time or energy for this.” But something had me resist dismissing them quickly and closing the door. They told me that they had seen my welcome mat (it reads: Bless this home and all who enter) and stopped and knocked to ask if they could pray for me. I agreed and they prayed. We then started talking. I told them that when I lived in Boston (more years ago than I want to admit!) I worked for Franklin Covey (the day planner and life coach company that is owned by a Mormon) and that I had many Latter Day Saints friends and co-workers during that time. We spoke more about life and religion and how all of God’s children need to find a way to live together peacefully. We spoke about that if we all lived the Golden Rule, our world we be so much closer to God’s dream for our world. I asked them if they would like some water, they said yes, so I gave them two bottles of water. They asked if I would pray for them as they continued their mission. I was honored to be asked and once again we prayed together. As they were getting ready to leave, they asked if when they were back in the neighborhood and needed a friendly face if they could come back. I told them anytime and then they left.
This meeting was powerful for me. I, like many of us, have stereotypes about Mormon Missionaries. It reminded me that it is only when we step out of our preconceived notions do we allow room for God’s spirit to show us a new way of being. It reminded me of how very different people long for the same thing in life. It reminded me how sacred it is when we follow God’s lead in our lives and step out of our comfort zones.
The next morning, I was in the supermarket. The lines were long to check out. I picked a line and sighed as the man two carts ahead of me left his cart in line and dashed to get something else. He took so long that they woman in front of me had to move his cart so she could check out before he returned. The man returned clutching a bag of rice. As he was placing his items on the belt, he looked at a yellow pepper he had chosen, and then told the cashier he didn’t want it. The cashier rang out his order. He opened his wallet, looked, and then looked into the cart to put something back. He grabbed the bag of rice. The cashier began on my order as he was still trying to leave. I stopped him and told the cashier to put the pepper and the rice onto my order and give it to him. She asked him is that was ok for him and he agreed. As he thanked me, I said, “When you are able to do so, do the same thing.” He left. The cashier and I began to talk. She told me I was the second person to do this in her line that morning. I said, “There but for the grace of God go any of us.”
I feel blessed that I can add $5 to my grocery order and not think about it. I feel blessed because I can buy yellow or orange or red peppers because I like them better than green peppers and don’t think about the fact that they cost double the amount than green peppers. I am thankful that the cashier asked the man if it was ok that I offered to buy those items for him.
I have been dreading this coming holiday season. I miss my Dad. He lived for the holidays. He loved cooking and decorating and entertaining and sharing the joy of the season. These two events reminded me that we all can share the joy of loved ones no longer with us as we reach out to share the abundance and blessings of God with those who cross our paths.
May your Thanksgiving overflow with God’s blessings.
Blessings and love,