So the title of this blog is clearly underwhelming … hence why I have a difficult time following through with the above phrase. Why “do little, well” if you can “do a lot, pretty well”? Shouldn’t we do as much as we possibly can to fit everything in?
Thanksgiving is approaching and I often feel like it’s the red-headed step child of holidays. It’s sandwiched between Halloween, where the goal for kids is to accumulate and consume the most candy and for adults to find the best, albeit risqué costume and post the most liked instagram picture. On the other side of the sandwich is Christmas, which starts earlier every year. Where for 2-3 months prior to December 25th, there is a mad rush of gift buying, party planning, Christmas card delivering, and activities. It isn’t until Christmas Eve that most people even pause to ponder the true meaning of Christmas and by that time, you are too exhausted to celebrate it. Christmas Day comes and quickly passes, leaving you with receipts and exchanges of Christmas gifts that weren’t liked and almost always not needed. It’s all consuming with little return on your investment.
So, why is Thanksgiving lost in the shuffle? Simply put, Thanksgiving is a time of “doing little, well.” And who wants to do that?
Thanksgiving is by far my favorite holiday because it gives me permission to do exactly the opposite of what I am wired to do. I am consistently the one in our family that tries to fit it all in … just let me wash one more dish or fold one more load of laundry before I sit down. Oh, I need to stop at one more store and do one more errand before we head to dinner. Michael will read this at some point and laugh, then use this blog as ammo to remind me of my own issues, to be sure. But Thanksgiving, if you are doing it right, is about spending the day doing a little, well. We come together, sharing dishes of yummy food, chatting and hanging out with our close friends or family that are gathered around our table that year and celebrate just being here. It’s that simple. I think that is why Thanksgiving can be overlooked because in life we want to over-complicate even the most simple pleasures, which ironically are the most powerful. Connecting with people, fostering relationships and pouring into them, takes time, focus, and the ability to do little, well. I can’t rip into a present, say thank you, move on to the next gift and feel like I have connected with that person. It’s just not possible. But sitting around a table, breaking bread, sharing stories, laughs and tears … being with a person – that is connection. Thanksgiving is a reminder of that for me.
I find myself sometimes – okay, quite often – becoming frustrated with our progress and work for Charlie’s Heart Foundation. My biggest fear is to let the Foundation down and in turn, I would be letting Charlie down. So I am constantly asking myself, “Are we doing enough? Reaching enough people? Making enough of a difference in the lives of people who need it most?” Michael will tell you it’s pretty much a bi-monthly conversation (i.e. rant) I have with him. But then I have to put myself in check (well, a lot of times Michael has to). Charlie didn’t spread his love by throwing presents at people and then quickly move on to the next person. He spent time laughing and playing, growing relationships with them. We have to pour into others just as Charlie did in order to affect sustainable change. We spend time with families through Addis Jemari’s Family Empowerment Program and A Glimmer of Hope’s Integrated Community Development protocol, listening to communities, their needs for basic health care, clean water, and education, and work with them to provide that. We have to live as Charlie did, celebrating Thanksgiving everyday. Taking time to build lasting relationships. Doing little, well.
So, this Thanksgiving, I encourage each of you to pour into the people that are gathered around your table. Take the time to devote to each one. Have conversation, listen, love on your people … and do little, well.