Tonight, as I was going through some of my old text messages, I rediscovered a touching message from my late cousin Derrick, fondly known as Chef D. The message, dated October 18, 2021, served as a touching reminder of his unwavering spirit in the face of his battle with cancer. In this exchange, I expressed admiration for his resilience. Little did I know, this text exchange would find a place in my short talk at Derrick's going home ceremony.
The message read: "Cuz, we only live once! Have to live to the fullest, I have too many souls to save with 'At the Table.'" Derrick's passion project, "At the Table," was a documentary bringing people with differing views together over a meal he crafted. For him, cooking transcended mere skill; it was a means of uniting hearts and fostering connections.
As Thanksgiving draws near, our family is preparing for a OneLove Thanksgiving Celebration, a time to remember Derrick and other departed family members. It's more than just enjoying good food; it's about imparting lessons and creating experiences of love, peace, unity, togetherness, and inclusion – the essence of Derrick's message: OneLove.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
This year, our celebration transcends the feast; it's a deliberate effort to redefine love within our family. In a world inundated with messages contrary to love, it's time to take responsibility for the state of our families and reinforce basic principles like love, kindness, and forgiveness. As we confront challenges, let's approach them with a spirit of love.
Resolving conflicts doesn't mean abandoning the principles of love, understanding, and kindness. True love involves continuous forgiveness for ourselves and others, releasing hurt or pain caused by others' behavior. Forgiveness is a powerful tool for healing, enabling us to move forward with an open mind and heart. Forgiveness does not mean forgetting but making a conscious choice to release the pain.
For our OneLove Thanksgiving, we're introducing gratitude walls adorned with family members' expressions of thanks. Posters with biblical scriptures will be displayed on the walls emphasizing the significance of all the love that surrounds us. Gift bags filled with treats will set a tone of warmth, and our agenda includes games, tournaments, and a discussion on Family Love. Trophies await the best dressing, best dessert, family humanitarian, and a special #OneLove Trophy for the best dish in honor of Chef D.
Before our Thanksgiving meal, inspired by Derrick's Christmas tradition last year, we'll gather in our OneLove circle, each person remembering a departed family member or friend.
Derrick believed in using food to bridge gaps among people who wouldn't ordinarily connect. This Thanksgiving, as you prepare your meals, consider feeding not just bodies but spirits. Think of ways to infuse unity, love, and peace into your family gatherings. In the spirit of #OneLove, let this Thanksgiving be more than a feast; it's a celebration of enduring bonds and the spirit that connects us all. #OneLove