There's a story about a telephone service giving advice on how to prepare a turkey. A newlywed wife called the turkey hotline and asked, "How long would it take to roast a 17 pound turkey that doesn’t have any stuffing?" The turkey hotline phone rep said, "Just a minute . . ." and paused to check her charts. The caller said, "Thank you very much. Bye."
What a Thanksgiving meal that would have been, no? It's so easy to crash through life with only partial information. Oftentimes, though, the problem is that we don't know we have only partial information. I look at something through my own lens, which is different from you looking through your lens. We develop these lenses over our lifetime of experiencing life in its many aspects, including family, school, work, social interactions, media, sports and many more.
Doing the dishes when I was growing up was just part of the responsibilities we kids had around the house. I had two younger brothers closest to me in age, so Mom wrote on the kitchen calendar our initials — N, C and J — and indicated our after-supper jobs. For example, Monday — Nancy wash, Craig dry and Jess put away. Tuesday — Craig wash, Jess dry and Nancy put away. And so on. Of course this calendar was from church showing saints' feasts and holy days, and it didn't matter that it was provided by a funeral home — we displayed it proudly in the kitchen.
Even doing those chores brought individual perspectives. One brother's goal was to get done as fast as he could in order to go off to more fun pursuits, so Mom as the quality inspector would select a glass from the drainer rack, hold it up to the light and ask, "Is this clean?" And it never was.
I've enjoyed many a Thanksgiving meal with family over the years, including my co-dish commanders. Blessings abound. I'm grateful. And I never suffered a turkey cooked in just a minute.
[Sr. Nancy Linenkugel is a Sylvania Franciscan sister and chair of the department of Health Services Administration at Xavier University, Cincinnati Ohio.]