Excerpt from Acts 16: 14 – 15
“A certain woman named Lydia, a worshipper of God, was listening to us; she was from the city of Thyatira and a dealer in purple cloth. The Lord opened her heart to listen eagerly to what was said by Paul. When she and her household were baptized, she urged us, saying, ‘If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come and stay at my home.’ And she prevailed upon us.”
Reflection by Donna Schaper
When you get a really good invitation, something more than just the invitation prevails. Warmth ensues. We feel richly connected, downright purple. Alice Walker says that womanism is to feminism as purple is to lavender. Without going into the competition between women that this statement implies, let us at least allow there is a difference between purple and lavender. Lydia probably knew it well.
Our world spends a lot of time trying to dilute us. Almost like the wine is being turned into water, instead of vice versa. We get multi-tasked to smithereens or multi-task ourselves to the same situation. We get weighed down by the “what ifs” of the next few decades. We are sickened by the sick care system and stress out trying to reduce the stress in our lives.
We may need a good invite to Lydia’s house. Or we may need to invite some people to our house and have a feast of purple, not just in cloth but also in food, conversation, wine, song.
We may need to warm and be warmed so that our color can deepen into something undiluted.
Thanksgiving looks nothing like it did when I was a kid. Trust me, that is not a bad thing. Although I think back of all those faces of family members who have never faded from memory, we were just a big bunch of disfunctional people. Lots of alcohol, lots of stories of the good ole days, and eventually someone would get pissed off about something. Good times, good times.
As I grew up and as family died off Thanksgiving was different. I was twenty something and really not too into the tradition however, I would dutifully show up to eat and watch the Sherry flow. Waiting patiently for the time I could spit to either the silence of my own apartment or the new set of dysfunctional friends with marijuana.
Then I got married. New family, new traditions, old family, old traditions and two newly married people trying to sort out what our own traditions. Still chaos, still alcohol, anger and too much food.
The first time I ate at the restaurant for Thanksgiving I felt out of my element. I felt as if I was breaking some sort of moral sin of Thanksgiving. I got over it. But it was weird.
My second marriage brought yet a new tradition. We picnicked on the floor with the babies and ordered dinner from Cracker Barrel and watched movies. Finally the alcohol was not flowing except perhaps a few Blue Moon’s my ex-husband likes to drink.
I find myself again, looking at a strange and new Thanksgiving. History has shown me that it will enrich me and teach me that tradition really is just a word for continuing to do the same thing even when it isn’t any fun. Last night, I celebrated a Thanksgiving of sorts holding the hand of one of the most beautiful woman I may ever know. My friend Emi met me for potato skins and a few drinks and we closed down the bar with conversation which we just couldn’t find an end to. I danced in prayer of being happy in the moment. I gave thanks for just being.
Tomorrow, yet to see what that will look like. Many of you are probably in the same place. What, where, when, who, if? Or perhaps it will look just like any other day. Some of us are in places where it is a hard search for the situations in which we want to even say thank you about. Some of us, facing despair, loneliness, anger, isolation just wish it would just go away. Some of us will be blessed with being surrounded by people, family, or family family. New faces, old faces.
My wish for you is you find your Feast of Purple. Look to those around you and remember they are in your life for a reason. Care for them. Let them care for you. Raise a glass and tell them how much they mean to you.