Late yesterday afternoon as my Mom and I checked off the final items of our grocery list, we received a phone call from my Dad. While Thanksgiving at my household is always a small affair with our immediate family, he shared how had invited a new guest to join us for Thanksgiving dinner. Our new guest to be was a coworker from Romania who does not have any family in the United States. He had shared with my Dad that afternoon in conversation that in his nearly decade in the States, had never experienced Thanksgiving. My Mom of course welcomed him with open arms and plenty of food (as any Italian chef always cooks for 15 when the group is certainly less than 10).
This afternoon, we listened to this man share his story of how he had always dreamed of coming to the United States, from the time he was a teenager. He made the trek here a little less than a decade ago and shared with us how in his first few months, he wanted nothing but to return home as the experience of knowing no one in a new place was overwhelming. He quickly reminded himself that this was his dream and well, he stayed. He shared his history, what eventually lead him to Georgia and what he is most Thankful for in his life.
The day’s conversation left me with a quite a few things to be thankful for and certainly a few reminders for each and every day.
Share your passions with others. Share a meal, a conversation or extend a welcoming hand. I’m so incredibly blessed to have parents who have not only taught me this every day of my life, but who also continue to outpour their love on others. If you think no one is watching, think again. Your actions inspire those who surround you.
Follow your dreams. Don’t ever sell yourself short of exactly as you have planned them. With dedication, hard work, faith and maybe a little luck, you can achieve that little ‘what if?’ in the back of your mind. Sure, you may have to make a few tweaks along the way, and the road will always be rocky, but you are the only one person truly responsible for your destiny.
While a single Romanian man at our family dinner table is far from the tales of the pilgrims and the Indians more than 350 years ago, it was certainly full of simple reminders of thanks and left me a little more inspired and grateful on this historic and humbling holiday.