• ashirk@gmail.com
  • Kijabe, Kenya
on thanksgiving 2022. . .

on thanksgiving 2022. . .

I know I am a bit early on this one, but I am in the airport right now, headed to America because my dad is having surgery. When we planned my dates, one of the first questions our Bible study asked was “but when are we going to have thanksgiving?” For the past 3 years, I have cooked a traditional thanksgiving meal for all of our friends – turkey, sweet potato casserole, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole with homemade onion rings, and apple, pumpkin, and pecan pie. . .

This year, we did it on November 9th, my last Bible study in the country. Ruth and I started cooking at 9:30, and by now we are so organized, by 11am when Stacy arrived we had the sweet potato casserole done, and 3 pies almost ready to put in the oven. We eat at 8pm here – so we were more than a little ahead of schedule.

Stacy prepped the bread for the stuffing. We timed pies in the oven, checked ingredients, and we chatted. I pulled out our thanksgiving decorations and put them up, and then I went to a couple meetings at the hospital. At 6pm Mary and Chelsea came over to help with gravy and whipped cream and turkey cutting at at 7:45, David smashed potatoes and we laid all the food out – Dinner for 30 people, complete with jet puff marshmallows on top of the American sweet potatoes we found for the first time this year –

After the meal, we always go around the room and give thanks – every year the theme is slightly different – in 2020, we gave thanks for life itself, for a hospital that was still open, and for safety. This year it was thanksgiving for family in the midst of adversity, for steadiness, and for new life (we added two babies to the group since last thanksgiving).

As Ima and Mary and Chelsea and I washed dishes afterwards, we reflected on the shifting themes – on the stage of life, and on the goodness of reflecting and seeing how COVID changed us – how we have drilled down to the people in our house as our needed allies and tightened our circles. (They also teased me mercilessly for considering letting our dog lick the oven. . .). It is good, but we are also ready to look outward again.

I am excited about what 2023 will bring – and for another marker in time, and even for a year of double thanksgivings on both sides of the world.