The Picture Perfect Prozac Thanksgiving

There’s a little cartoon going around Pinterest and Facebook that has me laughing out loud every time I see it.

I bet you can relate just as I can if your holidays are anything like the ones our family has…

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I got to thinking about holidays past and present when it might have been nice to have had somebody slip a lil somethin’ somethin’ into our turkey to make the answer to the question, “Can’t we all just get along,” in fact, “YES!”  I better not go into any personal family examples, but I bet you’ve got some floating through your mind.  Like the time your Great Uncle Arthur started going off on a tangent about that televangelist swindler he just adores and your Cousin Frances from the other side of the family attempted to put him in his place only to have the rest of the family get upset at her for the way she handled it.  Or maybe the time your Little Brother Billy left the door open and the three neighborhood bears came in and found chairs and turkey that were juuuuuusssssssstttttt right.  Perhaps you’re recalling the time your mom collapsed in a crying heap after slaving away only to realize she left the turkey in the freezer the night before.  Perchance your mind is drifting to the first married Thanksgiving and the little slip of the tongue you accidentally made saying, “Well, it’s not like my mom fixed it…” Could it be that memories are flooding to the time when your aunt and your grandma had WORDS for all to witness and grandma packed her bags to head home early?  Maybe it was that time your sister dropped the bomb that she was moving in with her boyfriend and had invited him to dinner because, after all, he IS a part of this family too.  Or perhaps, it was when your 16 year old nephew was playing with the deep fryer and nearly burnt down the entire neighborhood?

Wow.  We all have had our share of some pretty lively family holiday tales haven’t we? Yet, somehow, year after year, I think we all dream of expect the Norman Rockwell Picture Perfect Thanksgiving.  Year after year, though, we aren’t as full of thanks as we are disappointment.

Someone left the bag of gizzard guts inside the turkey again.

The stuffing was too dry.

You didn’t get to take that shower you were hoping to after a marathon of cooking.

Your spouse had to work.

You forgot the cranberry sauce.

Your son at college didn’t make his flight.

Your Green Bean Casserole was devoid of the French’s Onions.

Your ex-wife has the kids.

Your mashed potatoes were too lumpy.

Your crazy {insert the person of your choice here} is running his or her mouth again.

Your husband fell off a ladder and broke his arm, leg, and pelvis when he was nailing that last Christmas light to the roof.

The cider spilled all over the table cloth.

The pie didn’t set right.

Yeah, it seems like a round of Prozac might just help take the edge off.  But then everyone would be passed out or someone might have an allergic reaction…and get super sick.  And then you’d have to deal with a lot of vomit.  And well, that wouldn’t be a Happy Thanksgiving at all, would it? Certainly not the Norman Rockwell one.

The truth is, no matter how much we dream of it or unrealistically expect it, no Holiday dinner will ever measure up to the perfect pictures we are either bombarded by through the media or that are conjured up in our own minds.  Yep.  It’s true.  Depressing, right?  No, just true.  Why? Because each warm body that graces your Thanksgiving table is a skin cloaked breathing carcass of imperfection.

Each bit of imperfection that is brought to your Thanksgiving dinner will contribute to ruining the perfect picture that you’ve got hanging in the gallery of your mind.

And that’s ok.  Because each imperfect person who pulls up a chair at your table also brings gifts along with his or her baggage.

Maybe when you see that difficult to love (or even like) person who you obligingly invited, you see loads of issues that haven’t been worked through, mountains of drama, and hours of yada yada yada yada-ing.  Maybe you cringe when they walk through the door because you know that you, another person, or even everyone else is going to be uncomfortable by their presence.  Maybe you just see a list of all the wrongs they’ve done.  Maybe you just see all that stuff that is going to totally botch your carefully planned Rockwellesque meal.

Maybe that’s your fault.

Maybe your comfort isn’t the point.

Maybe you should put on a different pair of spectacles rather than anticipating or pointing out the spectacle of imperfection before you.

Maybe you should remember that you’re a heaping mess of junk too.

Maybe you should pull out the claim ticket from your wallet that you’ve forgotten about and recall the baggage that has been checked under your own name.

Maybe, rather than take a chill pill or stuff one down your guests’ throats, you should look around the table and marvel over all of the warm souls that all need something a little stronger than Prozac. Oh.  And maybe you should be sure to look in the mirror when you do.

When you take a moment to pause and notice who has been seated around the turkey, dressing, cranberry sauce, and green bean casserole, you might just notice that it’s not just a Thanksgiving Dinner table that you’ve all been seated at.  No, it’s the table of grace.

Some may have swallowed that grace before.  Some may be eager to partake in it for the first time.  Some may just need a little encouragement to know that they aren’t the only ones in need of this strong remedy.

Yes, grace is far more potent than even the strongest of happy pills.  True grace comes from an omnipotent source.

True grace comes from the Person who doesn’t keep records of wrongs.  True grace welcomes guests, no matter how much baggage they bring, to dine at the banquet table prepared for them by the Servant King, who came to unload their baggage one soiled rag at a time.  True grace fellowships with each person…no matter how many filthy rags they bring and reminds them that they are not alone. In fact, Grace got quite a bit filthy once before as well…bloody, actually.  True grace doesn’t just point out the rags, it destroys them and mercifully presents a spotless robe of righteousness.

True grace will ruin your own perception of perfection.  It’ll ruin your dreams of a picture perfect Thanksgiving and a picture perfect anything.

And that’s ok.

Because a grateful heart shouldn’t be expecting perfect people to come to their Turkey Day feast.

A grateful heart should look around the table and marvel at what each person DOES have to offer, because true grace does that…it gives purpose to those rescued in spite of imperfections.


“For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.” Romans 12:3


2 Comments on “The Picture Perfect Prozac Thanksgiving”

    1. Thank you so much, dear Jill. I just have been thinking so much the last couple of days that a grace filled table is a giant table where everyone is welcome with seats for all. That’s what I think the marriage supper of the Lamb will look like. Grace and peace to you, my dear sister.

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