Thanksgiving is a time for Camelots

This column was originally published as part of my “Looking Homeward” series at

“Don’t let it be forgot,

That once there was a spot,

for one brief shining moment

That was known as Camelot.”

Camelot! A place, a time, a person and experience. Maybe even a feeling. However we define it, Camelot has come to mean “the height of something special.”

And the Thanksgiving season is a time of recalling one’s Camelot or Camelot’s.

Camelot: Little children gathered around an open fire in the den, finding expressed delights in identifying flickering flames as a rabbit’s ear, a teddy bear’s foot or a barking dog.

Camelot: Turkey served full-bodied to 20 family members, some of them afraid the dinner bell would never ring, yet content to talk, laugh and re-enforce love that 12 months’ separation had dimmed not one speck.

Camelot: The grateful memory of a brother whose “one brief shining moment” was all too short, but whose lengthening shadow continues to cast an influence exceeding his seventeen years.

Camelot: The beautiful ceremony dedicating a hospital chapel and pastoral care program that reflects the seeds planted 20 years ago from a ministry that sought to touch people both within and beyond the walls of a single faith’s traditions.

Camelot: The tears of joy that come when greeting folks you rarely see, but remember often as you ponder the past, grateful for their role in your life, yet fully aware that some chapters are closed, never to be reopened.

Camelot: The simple things. A kitten, now a cat, whose furry, snuggling gestures invite you to respond by gentle stroking, somehow relieving the tension of schedule’s demands. A warm cup of coffee that stimulates the mind as it warms the body, preparing you for the tasks ahead.

Camelot: The grateful relief that comes when you’ve handled a difficult situation well and found a way to keep folks connected with their hearts when their warring minds threatened the greater good.

Camelot: The excitement that comes when you find a way to honor the past and bring it with you into the present as you capture what was and shape it to what you want it to be.

In his book “Looking Homeward: Reports from the Homefront Line,” my father described life as he watched the waves break on an early morning beach.

Wave after wave came, reminding you that life is a parade of movement. You can see but a glimpse of its beginning and a foretaste of its end. And somewhere in the long line stands you, gifted of the past, graced in the present, and granted a future by faith.

And we are both grateful–and challenged.

Thanksgiving. It is a time for thanking family, neighbors, friends (near and far) for who they are and what they are helping you make of and for yourself.

Thanksgiving. It is a time for being grateful for our heritage, our talents, and our ability to dream and see possibilities.

Thanksgiving. It is a time of remembering all the Camelots, and a time for committing to create more Camelots.