Housing Authority (Thanksgiving Edition)



No articles this week, House is on Thanksgiving break! We are only interested in being an authority on the consistency of the casserole, the ratio of turkey to gravy to dressing, the precision of shape—and class—that are miraculously maintained in the cranberry sauce’s journey from can to plate. What is more, we are interested in being an authority on, or, better, the recipient of gratitude, which is not an emotion that can be forced, although it may be learned. How learned? Gift. Helped by prayer for the gift. Prayer by keeping our eyeballs open. Prayer by looking into the faces of the broken and beautiful people sitting around our tables. We never got a choice in the matter, these, of whom we must ask, Please pass the potatoes, and Sorry to bother, yes, also the salt-free, low-fat butter (plastic?). Aunt Eleanor is watching her cholesterol. This is our family, with its own happy and sad institutional memory like the rest.  Yet we are beginning to understand what Thomas Merton says is the “positive importance not only of the successes but the failures and accidents” of our integrated lives. Furthermore, can we all just agree to stay away from politics? Once we were an authority on using this gathered occasion to talk about how consumer-oriented America is, our collective Black Friday sickness, Hey guys, did you know that some of the pilgrims were actually colonization-obsessed elitists?! Just No–No. No. No. This year we are putting that kind of authority aside because Thanksgiving is not the time or place for cynical sermonizing. Instead, we will be an authority on enjoying and letting others enjoy the preciousness of time spent together. We will baptize by gravy. We will be baptized by Spirit.

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