Thanksgiving and the forgiveness perspective

It was very cold, in late November. We'd gathered to have Thanksgiving dinner at the family's summer cottage. The high, clear skies had a brilliance unlike summer. Woodsmoke from the chimney curled up, welcoming and nostalgic. But what I recall most from that Thanksgiving years ago was simply a larger view of the need for compassion.

My wife and I, both in our mid-twenties, stayed in the nearby home of family friends who were away for the holiday. Pictures of that family, of their children and all their growing-up years, rested on bureaus and desks throughout the quiet house. You couldn't help caring deeply about them all. It made you long for the very best for each of them.

We knew just a little of the husband's notorious temper, his clashes with neighbors. He had struggled long with alcohol. He'd had only marginal success in making a living. The family's hopes, love, the passing years, were all there unselfconsciously spread out in the photos. Somehow this brought into sharper focus for us the forgiveness and love so greatly needed by every member of the human family.

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Right questions and right answers
November 24, 1986

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