This year, the ladies of Angela’s Villa have SO much to give thanks for. That’s why we planned to meet on Sunday, November 20 to celebrate “Friendsgiving,” with a feast composed of various dishes prepared by us at home and brought to Angela’s to share with one another. Seven young women gathered including Jenne, Kristen, Nadia, Marta, Janie, Sister Norma and me.
As we were arriving, we gathered in the kitchen, getting the food ready and sharing stories of our past weeks. Once everyone was there, we formed a circle in the living room for prayer. Most sat criss-cross on the floor with a only a few on the couch -- very much like at home.
We listened to David Carnes’s piano rendition of Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing, which everyone should listen to if you haven’t already. It perfectly set the environment to one of warmth and love, with many of us closing our eyes and allowing the music to clear our crazy-busy, overwhelmed minds.
After the music ended, we read a prayer together and Sister Norma passed out copies of Prayer: Our Deepest Longing, by Ronald Rolheiser, for us to read and reflect upon during Advent. Jenne turned to a random page and quoted, “‘Mostly the party is followed by a hangover.’ Sister Norma, what book is this?’” We all burst into laughter before Sister Norma urged her to read its surrounding text.
In context, the quote was referring to when we push ourselves beyond our normal senses to find enjoyment and happiness, when truthfully we can only find genuine happiness in God’s everyday gifts. Amused by the perfection and humor of this random find, we decided to go around the circle, each of us randomly opening to a page and quoting what we first read.
One after another, we read these random quotes that each seemed perfectly worded for what we needed to hear. When it was my turn, I quoted, “Is worrying about so many things bad for our faith?” In context, it was referring to the fact that worrying is not what hurts our faith, but rather, the fact that worrying makes us believe that God has forgotten us or that He does not have a plan for us, which definitely can hurt our faith. Tears filled my eyes and Sister Norma took my hand. Jenne looked at me, saying, “And people say God can’t be seen working in action…” For me -- awaiting a major surgery in a few weeks -- I had never felt more at peace than I did right then.
We ate our Friendsgiving feast which included sweet potato casserole, a squash dish, homemade kolachi, and many other delicious dishes! Sister Norma prepared the turkey and stuffing.
After eating, we moved downstairs to play board games. We joked and laughed and did not want to leave when the evening came to an end. With so much to be thankful for -- this home, donated furniture, delicious food -- I am most thankful for these girls. I reflect on how blessed I am to be surrounded by such fun, faith-filled friends who inspire me every day to grow in my own relationship with God. THAT is the true purpose of Friendsgiving, and the true purpose of Angela’s Villa.