Thursday, November 23, 2017

To Appreciate A Thanksgiving Without Food

This Thanksgiving morning, my kitchen will not be inundated with the aroma of a pumpkin pie baking. A turkey will not accompany a cornucopia of casseroles, sweet corn, and other classics of the season. My family and I won't hold hands around a table set for a several course meal, rushing through sentiments of thanks to savor the first bite of what will be leftovers for weeks to come.

I have not eaten in over two years, nor have I been able to be exposed to food proteins and chemical perfume scents without suffering severe reactions due to Mast Cell Disease. Thus, the act of cooking is a no go and others consuming most foods in my presence is not doable either.

My family's Thanksgiving celebration will definitely be atypical. There is going to be a meal for those who can eat. But the cooking and eating will be done in the garage that was revamped into a kitchen. Alongside our vehicle sits the kitchen appliances, like a stove, fridge, and a sink. I would hardly call it fine dining.

With a holiday so centered around food, how can someone who cannot eat give thanks?

Focus On the People

Food might be deemed the main event; however, there is good in not having food as an added distraction. It prevents the heedless mumbling of a thankfulness prayer with one eye slitted open, staring at the bowl of mashed potatoes as if they would not be there ten minutes from now.

Rather than immediately dozing off with bloated stomachs brimming to combustion in between brief conversations about televised football, my family and I plan to play games (hello, SkipBo tournament), decorate for Christmas, and continue to engage in thankful fellowship on our Thanksgiving day.

A Thanksgiving without food lends the opportunity to focus on what is truly importantto praise God for all blessings, no matter how shrouded. I might be sick, but I am feeling better than last week and at least I am receiving the necessary medications. My only safe formula has been discontinued, but I have enough for now. There is a nationwide saline shortage crisis, but my home pharmacy is doing everything possible to find a supply. These situations are like silver linings worthy of praise.  

Thanksgiving really would not be what it is without people. Although my entire extended family does not try to understand, I am thankful for the few immediate friends and family members who are willing to go above and beyond to accommodate the ways in which my chronic illness must dictate my life.

The previous holidays with the standard traditions nice too. I could invite everyone and their brother and his second cousin to eat a large meal, watch football, and take cat naps. I simply did not appreciate it as much until I could no longer partake.

God irrevocably provides. Maybe another Thanksgiving without food is just what I need to alter my perspective.

"Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind, for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things." - Psalm 107:8-9, NIV