It’s easy to fall into the ole comparison trap—especially around the holidays. After all, we are given Pinterest-fueled visions of picture perfect gatherings and celebrations. Don’t get me wrong. I love Pinterest as much as the next visual learner but comparing my own often meager contributions to a perfect celebration can be quite overwhelming.
One of the family stories that has been passed around over the years concerns a plump, scrumptious turkey and a hungry German Shepherd.
My parents were missionaries to Nicaragua when I was born. So during the early years of their marriage, they were away from family for the holidays. You can imagine their excitement when they were finally back in the States and ready to contribute to the Thanksgiving feast. At the time of this story, their landlord was a ‘turkey vet’ for a well-known poultry company and had promised my parents a beautiful turkey for Thanksgiving Day.
The plans were made. We were going to spend Thanksgiving with my aunt who lived about an hour away. The whole family would gather at her house, and my mom was given the honor and responsibility of making sure the Thanksgiving turkey was just right. Now my mom is a terrific cook and preparing the turkey was as easy as pumpkin pie. She also used one of those new-fangled (at the time) cooking bags.
The turkey was stuffed with sage, thyme, and rosemary. It was loaded into the oven in the early morning hours and was now ready to make its journey to the Thanksgiving feast. It smelled glorious. My dad carefully carried it, roasting pan and all, out to the car and set it on the seat. He still had the pumpkin pie to bring out so he left the door open and walked quickly back to the house.
Mom said what happened next puts any ‘turkey trots’ to shame. She heard my dad yell and saw him dash across the yard on the tail of the neighbor’s German Shepherd. You’ve probably guessed what happened by now. That German Shepherd had that turkey bag clutched tightly in his jaws…dragging the cooked bird between his legs.
She could literally see her perfect Thanksgiving run away.
Dad chased that silly dog across three yards and eventually cornered him next to a fence. He wrestled the turkey away from the German Shepard and carried it back to the house.
My parents stared devastatingly at the turkey. The bag was messy. It had teeth marks all over it and the turkey was in pieces. But what to do? The turkey was the star of the Thanksgiving feast! Everyone was depending on them.
They say that necessity is the mother of invention. My parents carefully placed all those turkey pieces into a clean bag, got all of us kids into the car and headed off to Thanksgiving. There, they handed over the turkey and didn’t say a word about their morning adventure.
You should have heard all of the compliments. Most proclaimed that the turkey was the most tender turkey they had ever tasted. They weren’t aware of that poor bird’s unconventional tenderization process. To this day, the story hasn’t been repeated at any family gatherings.
We will always have disasters, less-than-perfect moments and letdowns in the midst of our perfect holiday preparations. It’s important to maintain your sense of humor and keep a healthy perspective. For one, let’s consider the word “perfect” itself. We think of something being perfect as without flaws or unblemished. I personally like another definition of “perfect” I heard recently in one of my husband’s sermons.
I, instead, look through my circumstances through the eyes of maturity. And what has maturity taught me?
I have to count my blessings. I have to rely on Him to perfect me. I do what I can do…it will all work out. Here is my advice. Don’t worry about perfection. Worry about loving those people around you and making the best of what you have.
Thanksgiving is about making memories, counting it ALL joy and giving thanks in ALL things. So this year…embrace your disasters. Laugh a lot. Hug your people. And do what you can.
And keep your turkeys away from any German Shepherds.
Rebekah Teague is the homeschooling mama to one busy and beautiful boy. She is married to The Muffin who is a pastor and a really great guy. In her spare time she can be found with a book and a cup of tea. She blogs at There Will Be A $5 Charge For Whining