I just returned from a walk around my neighborhood with my pups. As I walked, I started thinking about Thanksgiving, which is just around the corner. I have also been thinking about the people with whom I will share Thanksgiving this year. It is my absolute favorite holiday. Then, it occurred to me to contemplate the perfect Thanksgiving in terms of who would be at my table. I encourage you to engage in this exercise. My heart burst wide open with such incredible joy as I connected with the spirit and energy of each person I envisioned at my table. Some of the people I would want to be at my table are no longer with us. As I thought of them with tears streaming down my face, if any of my neighbors saw me, they likely thought, “Jon is crazier than I imagined.” These were tears of joy, nothing else.
As Rumi wrote, “What God said to the Rose and caused it to explode with full blown laughter, he said to your heart and caused it to be a thousand times more beautiful.” This incredible thing was just spoken to my heart. Have you ever had your heart open up so much that you cannot imagine it closing again?
I dwelled on each person who I want to sit with me to give thanks for our wonderful lives. The people who are with me in my heart at this moment have so many people who love them because they love so completely. Each gives to the world in their own unique way. Each has taught me something — things about myself, things about them, things about how they see the world, rounding my perspective and understanding, pushing me, calming me. Mostly, each has taught me to love a little more, care a little deeper, reach a little higher, and give a little more.
I may not be able to have everyone I want at my table; however, they will be in my heart, in my thoughts, and I will give to each person at my table the love that has been given to me.
I am going to write to each person I imagined at my table to tell them about this. I long ago accepted as a truth that “feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” I am writing this note to encourage all my friends to think about who you want at your Thanksgiving table. Then, tell each person you envision there how they have enriched your life. I call this “Spreading Joy.”
– Jon Terry