This week as I was preparing for the Thanksgiving holiday, I happened to be out and about and decided to drop in and get a manicure.  Usually, when I am getting this done, I put ear buds in and block out the world listening to a podcast.  But this time, I was ordering Christmas presents on my phone and barely listening to the conversation around me.  Soon something caught my attention.  The two ladies in chairs near me were strangers, yet they had started up a conversation about holiday plans.  As one of the women was talking, I realized that she was the mother of a man in our community who was close to my age and had passed away from a heart attack just a few weeks ago.

As I sat listening to the pain in her voice letting the stranger know that she had lost her beloved son and how difficult Thanksgiving was going to be, my heart broke for her.  She recovered soon though and several minutes later as I was leaving, I bent near to her ear and told her how sorry I was for her loss.  I said that I had met her son once and that he had been very kind to my family.  I let her know that I frequent her granddaughter’s salon in town and told her what an amazing entrepreneur business owner her granddaughter is.  I also stated that when her son passed away everyone in town was devastated by it. Finally, I told her that I thought of and prayed for her family often.  Although I hesitated in telling her all of the above for fear of making her cry, I was glad I had spent just a few minutes letting her know how her loss had impacted others.

Going with my usual tradition, this weekend I began decorating my Thanksgiving table.  I dug through the attic to bring out my Thanksgiving dishes, finding just the right flowers, candles, and napkins – I was satisfied that it was done just in time for my adult kids to come home.  As I was setting The Table I thought of all of the people who had graced us with their presence.  I thought of great-grandma Filippo and remembered her sitting at our just this spot years ago chatting and commenting on how good the food was, how much the kids had grown, and how excited she was to start a winter garden. I miss her so!  And she is not the only one…there is my dad, cousin Joey, Uncle Freddy, Aunt Inga, and many others. And I know you have those names that could go on your list too…people that are no longer here, but who raised us upon their shoulders to help get us where we are today.

This year the people gathering around The Table are limited.  Throughout this nation, many traditions will be put on hold. Numerous people will be spending the holiday away from family and friends due to COVID-19–related travel restrictions or safety concerns.  We are living at a time that many in our country are experiencing loss of a different kind.  The empty chair of someone who has passed away as a result of the pandemic.  Or maybe they are not able to see their loved ones because they want to keep them safe from getting sick.  There are also those that aren’t doing well financially or lost their job or are struggling with depression due to the stressors.  We are currently under more stress and pressure than we probably realize this year.  It has definitely impacted The Table.

But what I want to encourage you with is that you have The Table.  Same as I do…that table in your home that has hosted events, had loved ones who gathered around, gazed across knowing that it wouldn’t always be this way.  And I want you to take heart because we will get past this time in history and there will be people gathered around The Table again.  The ones you aren’t able to see now, you will next year.  There will be additional children either born or married into your family, there will be friends, and long-lost cousins, and new neighbors.  You will have client events and staff get-togethers.  There will be laughing and crying and storytelling all around The Table.  And what I want you to do is remember this moment and be grateful and appreciate the fact that a year from now The Table will again be full and so will your heart.s