It was about a week ago, that we hosted our largest open house thanksgiving potluck dinner. Over the course of the day, 24 people blessed us with their presence. To say that our table overflowed was the understatement. Three tables, thanks to a friend who bought folding tables as part of her contribution, overflowed with pastries and desserts of all kinds. We had an organic turkey, compliments of one of our clients, an extra turkey breast, a spiral sliced ham, two trays of macaroni and cheese (gluten free and regular), smashed potatoes, candied yams, sausage stuffing, Israeli salad, roasted vegetables of all kinds, cranberry sauce, salad, deviled eggs, spicy nuts, a basmati rice dressing, herbed corn, coconut milk eggnog, non-alcoholic wine, an assortment of sodas, and probably several other dishes that have faded from my memory.
What made thanksgiving this year so special was not the abundance of food, beverages, and desserts. It was the love, which flowed so abundantly through the rooms. We all gave thanks for a space to gather and give thanks. One of our new families were overjoyed they were invited to come and bring their son who has autism. Another woman was overwhelmed because we had not stuffed the turkey and had made an assortment of gluten free dishes. In our home, she felt celebrated for who she is and respected for what she could eat and she loved the macaroni and cheese (gluten free). We were blessed to help celebrate the life of a 78-year-old storyteller who told amazing stories, including one about a time that she sang about granola.
People gathered throughout the house, renewing connections and developing new ones. Stories were shared, memories resurfaced, powerful moments exchanged. As a community we laughed, cried, shared, and loved. We prepared, cooked, cleaned, and shared the feast and all of it was done in love.
A friend asked why I chose to cook so much. The answer was quite simple, for me what I offer is an act of love. Everything is about love. It is not just thinking about something, but hearing the desires of someone’s heart and creating that from a place of love. Brother Lawrence once said, “in the way of God thoughts count for little, love is everything. Nor is it needful … that we should have great things to do … We can do little things for God, I turn the cake that is frying on the pan for the love of Him.”
As we open our doors on special days such as Thanksgiving or any other day, we strive to meet the needs of our guests. Part of my upbringing was to remember that all who enter are the Divine, to not feed them is to not feed the Divine. Guru Gobind Singh teaches when “A Sikh visiting another Sikh’s door must be served food without hesitation of delay. To feed a hungry mouth is to feed the Guru.” Although these thoughts come from two different traditions, Judaism and Sikh, they both get at a lesson, which transcends faith traditions and spiritualties’. Give from a space of love and know that the Divine is in each of us. We fully appreciate the Rabbi’s gift when we remember that the Divine is in each of us; when I feed you, I feed the Divine.