Ever since I was a child, Thanksgiving had been an important holiday in my family. Typically, it was a tradition in my family to go to my mother’s parents each Thanksgiving in Pittsburgh. While my grandparents’ house was small, somehow it was able to hold everyone including my family, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. For us, there was always laughter that surrounded the table each Thanksgiving. And yes, occasional antics such as when my uncle put a pie in my mother’s face causing my mother to rub Reddi Whip in my uncle’s hair the following year. Most of all, what surrounded my grandparent’s dining room table of mismatched chairs was love. Because no matter what was happening in our lives or the world at the time, whenever we gathered around that table, we were surrounded by love unconditionally.
Last week, I found myself raking freshly fallen leaves in front of my house. After several years of living in various apartments around the country, this has been the first time in many years I’ve done lawn work. However, within the few hours I was outside raking leaves, I had the opportunity to talk with several neighbors who were passing by. While my wife has lived in our house for over two years and knows many people on the street, I’m still in the process of getting to know my new neighbors. But while my conversations with my neighbors about the tedious task of lawn care or the changing weather was simplistic, I’m discovering there is something more here than the simple small talk I have with those living next to me.