Thanksgiving: Rejection Sparks Reflection

Thanksgiving: Rejection Sparks Reflection

 

Normally a time filled with the noise and laughter of a house filled with family and friends.  A time of me bustling in a kitchen with rich spicy smells from all the preparations.  But maybe not this particular year I am recalling . . .

 That year it was to be just the two of us, my husband and I. Our daughter and family would be at her in-laws.  We were invited, but declined. Our good neighbors invited us to join their crew, but that didn’t feel right either.

We found out the elderly friend we watched out for would be alone, too. We decided to invite him. I would create the entire meal as usual and not leave out a detail. After all, he was 91 with no close family, and with his bad heart this might be his last Thanksgiving.  We would make it lovely and memorable, just for him.

The night before, I hopped around, cutting up the brown bread and making the dry bread cubes for stuffing. I chopped celery and onions, added spices to giblets and cooked that up for the broth. It was beginning! Oh, how much fun it was becoming! Funny, I thought:  If it had just been Lou and I, we probably would have just hit the buffet down the street.

Thanksgiving morning I got up at 5:30 a.m. I slowly sautéed more celery and onions in butter, minced the giblets, added more spices and tossed it all with the bread. The smells were definitely putting me in the mood. Soon the bird was stuffed and in the oven.  I peeled potatoes, and started the fruit salad. Oh!! I had raspberries and olla berries from the garden in the freezer. I added those too! I whipped my cream firmly and set it aside until mealtime. I laid out the vegetables and readied the sweet potatoes. It was all coming together.

I set a beautiful table, complete with crystal, beautiful serving pieces, cloth linens and my best china. It was nearly ready except filling the bowls with the hot, wonderful feast.

Finally, at 1 pm, I mashed potatoes, made the gravy, let the rolls bake and carved the bird…22 pounds for just 3 of us??!!?  Overkill, but then nothing was going to be missing.  Lou left to pick up our honored guest. The more I scurried, the happier I was that we did this.

Ten minutes later, Lou walked back in…. ALONE!!  He looked deep into my eyes, disappointed yet wanting to protect me from the same thing. He said, “Well it seems we have been rejected. He isn’t coming.” Rejected. That was a harsh word. My eyes filled with unbidden tears. All this preparation, all this work, all this perfection  (for I am a pretty good cook and I especially excel at this meal). With the only guest missing it felt untouched and yes, rejected.

I tried to find a positive thought to hold me together.  I barely managed to do so but my inner emptiness was presently hard to ignore. There are reasons for everything, but at that very moment, I could only feel one emotion: Rejection.

Well, Lou and I ate that wonderful meal, probably the best rendition I had ever produced.  Not one to waste, I had enough leftovers to make up 12 platefuls for future lunches! There was enough turkey to freeze for another 6-8 recipes to be planned much later.

I actually enjoyed eating it with just my husband.  He was so loving and concerned over me and I was glad I had prepared it anyway. Afterward, I took a plate to our friend to eat at his house, alone, which is what he apparently wanted.

Much later, in bed, I tried to fall asleep but was ruminating on the day. I almost sat up with a start. There was a deeper application and I was seeing it clearly.

How many times in the morning did I rise too late and miss my own well-prepared “feast”, lovingly created just for me?  For it says:  “Man shall not live by bread alone but by every Word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” And don’t I, by my inconsideration or careless lack of concern put other things first and by so doing, scorn the One who sits quietly, offering bountiful bowls and baskets of personally prepared nuggets of truth?  Sustenance that would have prepared me for the day ahead?

It was I who didn’t keep that appointment. I was also a “rejecter,” not once, but many times.

Via Pinterest

I thought further and realized something. Each “meal” is as full and complete as if it were prepared for a houseful of hungry people. Yet, it is personally prepared with the foreknowledge of what I would need for this one day. And each tomorrow, there will be another, a unique “another”, because He loves me and is ever faithful. Even when I fail to show up, He is always faithful. Does He ever fail to show up after I have been lax? Never!!  It seems I was the one who needed a little reminder. I needed a bit of stirring and awakening from my lax and lazy state. It was I who needed a painful picture…

…The picture of one Thanksgiving dinner, painstakingly made, but with no guests to enjoy it. Yet even that was not truly so. For the Lord had graciously lent my wonderful husband for another year and he enjoyed the meal with me, comforted me in my disappointment and said all the right things.

But the deeper lesson was still there for consideration. It is a good reminder for me, to take time to meditate at the table every morning that my dear Heavenly Father lays out for me and never leave Him waiting again.

Thanksgivings are wonderful in many respects. But sometimes they are less than perfect.  May you find deep meaning in your Thanksgiving this year, however you spend it.

 

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!  Do you have a Thanksgiving memory, good or not so good that this story brought to the forefront for you?  If so, would you take a moment and share with us?

 

Anne

About Anne

The youngest of 8, I was born in a tiny town in the Keeweenaw Peninsula of Upper Michigan in the late 40’s. My minister parents died 6 months apart around the time of my 5th birthday. My older siblings raised us in the family home until all were graduated except me. Gradually only the boys remained, so at the age of 10 I moved to other homes. My childhood was rich with experiences that sparked my young imagination. When I finally read the Anne of Green Gables series, I totally identified with Anne.
I have just celebrated my 46th anniversary with my dear husband, Lou. Our daughter, April, 4 grandchildren and one great granddaughter bring our family a lot of joy and reasons to be thankful.
I have worked at O’Connor Mortuary since 1996 where I handle the accounting. The Mortuary has become extended family and it is a source of satisfaction as a job I thoroughly enjoy.
We attend the Village Church and that is another wonderful extended family, one who not only worships and learns together, but loves and prays for one another at the drop of a hat.

We live in a retirement community and enjoy taking our two dogs, a Bernese Mountain Dog and little Cocker Spaniel, to Dana Point Harbor for Sunday jaunts.

I absolutely love participating in the Mortuary Blog. I have found my voice! Thanks for following me.

This entry was posted in Inspiration and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.
  • Maria Fernandez

    Hi Anne, what a beautiful blog, so full of Grace and yet so direct with truth. Thank you, my friend for writing this for all of us. Love, Maria

    • Anne

      Maria!
      How wonderful to hear from you and know you are following the blog. I miss your sweet face so much! May you have a blessed and joy-filled Thanksgiving. Glad you liked it. Maybe you would like to guest blog sometime. It would be awesome to hear from you on that level. You would bless many, I am sure.
      Love
      Anne

  • Hi Anne –

    What a great blog! We have so many blessing to be thankful for and at times our plans change without our will. Yet, what a great reminder that we are not always in control of life and there are purposes that we cannot always see. I am glad to know that you and Lou always make the best out of what ever situation comes your way. Thanksgiving has always been a special time for me, spending time with family and creating great memories. I do believe less is more yet in a big family that is not always the case, regardless of the numbers of people who attend our dinners they are normally full of laughter and good times. I am blessed to know you and call you my friend, I am grateful to be in your life.
    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

    • Anne

      Neil,
      You are too kind. Most Thanksgivings are just fine. I do see my glass half full not half empty, so I can usually find good in most situations. Each year has its moments, though, I have to say. No family dynamic is perfect. It is a good thing or I would have to leave the circle or would spoil it.
      Large families and large crowds at this time of year are fun. Enjoy every moment. It is good that none of you moved so far that you can’t gather for these occasions.
      It is good for Jesse to know all of his family on both sides. That connection is needed even more when life throws us curves.
      I am grateful for you, too. The years here have been a blessing. I am glad to know you as friend.
      Happy Thanksgiving!

  • Shayna Mallik

    Annie,
    Wow what a wonderful story. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite times of the year… time to spend with family and friends. I have always enjoyed waking up and helping my mom with the cooking. This year will be a tad different because I do not live at home. I will be waking up in my apartment with Brad and making a nice breakfast and spending some time just us two. Once we are both all ready we will be heading over to my moms house to start the holiday. This year Brad and I can start our own morning of Thanksgiving traditions and still have the normal feast with my family. Thank you so much for sharing. Your blogs are always so powerful and I love to read them.

    Shayna

    • Anne Collins

      Hi Shayna
      Happy After Thanksgiving! Well, I hope it was all you were anticipating. I know the actual day held thoughts of Brad’s grandma, so recently taken, but I am sure it was filled with family, and the makings of memories.

      Thank you for following the blog. It means so much to me to have you read and comment.
      Hugs
      Anne

  • GREG FORSTER

    Anne,

    And a most Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

    That neighbor not only missed out on a great meal but also a few treasured moments with a most inspired heartfelt soul. One offers food for the body, but you also offered nourishment for the heart…

    And if this happens again and you have el mucho leftovers…well…you know where to find one of your most ardent admirers, he works in the office right next store to you…and he is always hungry for all the different types of nourishment that you always so abundantly offer to him.

    Cheers!

    Greg

    • Anne Collins

      Greg
      Thank you for reading and your comments. All the family came and all the leftovers went home with them, so no food to share this year.
      I have to say, I found out in the months after that at 91 the old plumbing doesn’t always hold and especially with a large rich meal. He thought he was doing us a favor by staying home, but I didn’t find out until long after I had my moments of disappointment and rejection.
      Hope your celebration was wonderful.
      Hugs
      Anne

  • Anne,
    I think we all have holidays that get botched or don’t go the way we’d hoped. I know my Halloween went that way; I wrote a cute blog about all the fun I’d be having that evening and all the people that were coming and then that evening about half of the group (my half) cancelled just before the party. I was SO bummed. Fortunately there was some candy to soften the blow and a lovely bonfire that lit-up all of the happy faces that did come. I tried hard to make it feel the way I’d imagined but it didn’t happen. I like you want to find meanings or reasons for everything but I’m not sure if there always is one. It was sad but God is still good and it brought to my mind my favorite quote as of late,

    “The most beautiful of altars is the soul of an unhappy man who is comforted and thanks God” – Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

    I think of your story in this quote as well. You turned the right direction, to the Lord who is good and loving and only wants good and truth for us.

    Thank you for your beautiful blog, the sweet reminders of Jesus waiting for us at all times with open arms and a smile. He can do nothing else, he loves us so.

    Happy Thanksgiving my dear friend!

    • Anne Collins

      Molly
      What a wonderful quote! You said it in a nutshell! Unhappiness or disappointment surrounds us and seems to almost drown us, but our hope in God can comfort us and cause us to turn and thank Him for it all.

      I had a long weekend. I took time to have my spiritual meals with Jesus and it was good.
      Hope your Thanksgiving was better than your Halloween!
      Love
      Anne

  • Lori

    Anne,

    You continue to inspire me. I was blessed to have read your blog prior to Thanksgiving, but had not gotten the chance to comment. I now know why. It was so I could tell you how useful it was to me yesterday.
    Yesterday was tough, but I used it for God’s glory. While I could have focused on the sadness of the day, I used the opportunity to put my mind at ease that my Granny IS going to heaven.
    God uses you in my life to keep me focused on what is important in times of sadness, disappointment, despair, etc…..
    I am so very grateful to have you in my life!

    Love you,
    Lori

    • Anne Collins

      Lori
      Your time now with granny is fast approaching the time when she will say little and you will have to say it all. When that time comes, may the Lord give you all the right words you will need to encourage her heart.
      It was at this point I have spent time with some and have a little repertoire of songs about heaven that I like to sing to them. I think it prepares their hearts in an anticipatory way even though they don’t have much energy for talking.
      I too, am grateful for you.
      Love
      Anne

  • Carrie Bayer

    Anne, this is amazing! You found the lesson in the rejection- how wonderful to be so in tune as to recognize what was presented to you. It’s often that “a-ha” moment, when the lightbulb goes on above our head, that we truly understand what’s going on. For some reason, that moment is what resonates & teaches us so deeply. Thank you for sharing the ups & downs & ups again of this valuable lesson. XOXOXO Carrie

    • Anne Collins

      Hi Carrie
      It rather seems that the deepest most profound lessons in my life have been learned during periods of “boot camp”, so to speak, but seldom in the high points of life. And they are best seen after, when trying to make sense out of things.
      Thank you for following and commenting. We have a special team. Can’t wait to see what is next.
      Love,
      Anne

  • Fitz

    Anne,

    You truly are blessed not only with your writing skills but with your outlook on life. There’s always a “take away” from every moment we encounter, isn’t there. You have the innate ability to make lemonade out of lemons. I appreciated your words because it reminds me that there’s always a silver lining and we can chose to make the best out of a situation.

    Thanks for the blog. I hope your thanksgiving was blessed.

    Fitz

  • Anne Collins

    Thank you Fitz for reading and responding. I know we can all learn from our experiences. Seldom is the surface entire picture or the whole story. An active imagination helps and also that desire not to stay in a downer place.

    We had a very blessed Thanksgiving this year. I am thankful. Hope you and yours was also.
    Hugs
    Anne

  • kari Leslie

    My dear Annie,
    I missed this wonderful Thanksgiving blog, but as you pointed out, we shall receive things when they are needed. Daily, if we are faithful to meet our Maker and read his word. I so needed to hear this today. Thank you for your amazing insight. For making the best out of disappointment, and seeing the lesson just below the surface. I appreciate you and your amazing spirit.

    Love & Hugs!!
    kari

    • Anne

      Kari
      I wish we were notified when we have a new comment on an older blog, but just happened to check this today.
      I guess if we are listening there is a greater lesson in the difficulties than there ever are in the days that are buoyant.
      You are an inspiration so much of the time. It is the inside that must be renewed if we are to have anything to give out.
      Love and Merry Christmas!
      Anne