So the Thanksgiving meal is done. You adjust your belt one notch. You settle down on the couch to watch the game as the children all retreat into their electronic lives. It was a good meal…no one brought up politics. The turkey was a little dry…but gravy rescued that. All in all, another satisfying Thanksgiving dinner. “Thank you honey!” or “Thanks mom!”, you remember to say. Burp. All is good.
Well the kitchen isn’t good. There’s a leftover turkey carcass with still some meat to be mined. Some greasy pots and pans soaking in the sink. Piles of plates, stacks of dishes, glasses placed perilously close to the edge of the counter. The aftermath of the dinner has yet to be addressed. But you don’t worry….someone will take care of that.
The challenge of Thanksgiving Day in general is its aftermath. After thanking God for all our blessings, the sense that “someone” will take care of the work still to be done is lulled away by the tryptophan (well it’s the carbohydrates actually). In any case, while many have generously supplied food for “the needy” prior to Thanksgiving Day, there is a sense that all is complete, everything is taken care of, and all we need do is catch a nap before we rush toward the black Friday sales.
Someone once sarcastically pointed out to me, “There is no better way to say thank you to God than to stand in a cold line at 3am to buy more stuff.” Such a comment does make us think about the homeless person who is out in the cold at 3am every night. And if we’re not careful, we’ll start to make mental lists of all the suffering people around us and around the world. But “someone” will take care of them, right?
Thanksgiving Day can help us not just to recognize our blessings, but it propels us to share our blessings in ongoing ways. Yes, buying a toy for a needy child is a start, but we are the “someone” that’s been put on this earth to heal and help in so many more ways.
So what will you do “after the burp?” Will you help do the dishes and mop the kitchen floor? Will you invite a lonely someone over for leftovers the next day? Will you rake leaves for someone who obviously hasn’t, because they cant? Will you have a conversation with your children about ways they can be of service along side of you?
“After the burp” is a concept that helps us appreciate the fullness we’ve been enjoying and then becoming the “someone” who makes things right.