Thanksgiving at the Premji household is a sacred event. A time for family to come together, connect heartfully, hug tightly, share stories, listen, reflect on what we are thankful for and offer prayers, and mostly importantly eat Turkey!
Due to COVID, we could not celebrate Thanksgiving together as a family this year. So, we got creative. Each family made one dish and brought their creation on our deck at 2:30 pm. For 15-20 minutes they waited, socially distanced, exchanging air kisses and virtual hugs. Like elves, we worked quickly to assemble everyone’s goodies into an enormous Thanksgiving platter for each family, complete with delectable turkey, flavoured rice, appetizers (samosas, kachori, cornish pastries), smashed sweet potatoes with marshmallows, home-made cheesecake and cookies, treats and personal notes. Sabrina and I delivered these to each family in costume. I’m not sure what the costume was, but it was a bit loud and ridiculous and fun!
In the evening, we gathered over zoom for regular prayers and an extended rendition of soulful tasbihs, asking for peace in the world, and remembered all the loved ones we have lost this year. And then we continued our Thanksgiving tradition where each individual shared what they are grateful for. What was surprising this year was that COVID sat like a dark cloud in the midst of our reflections; a reminder that not all is well with the world. And yet, I was so humbled at how everyone was able to find glimmers of gratitude this year. This is the human spirit: rising to find wellness, good, and even fun, through uncertain times.
Gratitude that no one in the family has contracted COVID.
Gratitude that Kidogo continued its operations without having to lay off any staff.
Gratitude for getting a book published this year. Yeah!
Gratitude for students to return to university.
Gratitude for zoom to create a medium for families to come together.
Gratitude for new cool masks that are statement pieces.
Gratitude for Jamatkhana re-openings.
Gratitude for a successful stem cell transplant.
Gratitude for old and new friends.
Gratitude for not cancelling Thanksgiving this year.
And more and more reasons to be thankful.
It occurred to me that this year, perhaps more than any other year, we are living lives of polarity. Holding, on the one hand, uncertainty, frustration and sadness. And, on the other hand, hope, optimism and joy. Yet, in the face of chaos, resistance and change, we choose acceptance, opportunities and innovation. And maybe that is what it is to be fully human. Honouring all our thoughts and feelings, listening to what they are telling us, letting go of what doesn’t serve us well and embracing what feels right to us. Knowing full well that this is not a “one and done”, and that we need to be kind to ourselves and to each other.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
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