Sharing a meal with friends is a radical act of gratitude

Anyone who’s hosted a Thanksgiving feast understands that it requires a PhD in culinary arts and family mediation to actually pull it off. There’s negotiating the event’s date, divvying up the who-brings-what and two full days of shopping, cleaning, and cooking.

By Jocelyn Bell, The Observer

With so many moving parts, people and “Where can I find your whisk?” questions, Thanksgiving dinner can feel more like an air traffic control room than an occasion for gratitude. Asked in the moment, you might say you feel grateful for the food, the helping hands, the company, even the chaos of kids running through the kitchen while you’re trying to simmer the gravy.

But that deeper gratitude – for Creation, for familial love, for the very gift of life itself – can be difficult to conjure with the stove timer dinging and the dirty pots piling up.

Still, I’ve begun to consider that, regardless of how I’m feeling on Thanksgiving Day, the very act of preparing and enjoying a feast is an expression of gratitude in and of itself. I’m thankful for the fruits of the earth, so I cook its bounty to the best of my ability. I’m grateful for love, so I welcome family and friends to my table. I appreciate life, so I take the time to savour it.

In her recent book, Grateful: The Transformative Power of Giving Thanks, author Diana Butler Bass takes this idea further, arguing that the communal feast – and the gratitude it inspires among hosts and guests alike – is a powerful way to resist society’s age-old obsession with entitlement, privilege and superiority.

Read the full story at The Observer.
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