I know several of my readers aren’t from the US and don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, and a few have even asked me what it’s all about. I won’t bore you with a long US History lesson involving the Pilgrims and the Indians and etc. I think a modern-day Thanksgiving discussion would work just as well (with just enough history to make sense).
Just like most other holidays around the world, Thanksgiving has become a bit commercial, but undying optimist that I am, I don’t really think of it as only a day my son gets out of school and we eat lots of food at my mother-in-law’s house. It was started because the Pilgrims and the Indians had reached a point where they could actually sit down at the same table and be thankful for everything they had – food to eat, somewhere to live, a place to survive and thrive where they could worship as they chose etc. Granted, the atrocities committed against the Indians from there forward aren’t a pretty time in US history, but at that particular time, they actually were able to sit down together, for however brief a period.
Thanksgiving really should be just what it sounds like–a day to reflect on our lives and what we can be thankful for. I met a very brave and inspirational lady at Starbucks the other day who has terminal cancer. She has gone into remission three times and this time, it’s spreading too fast, so she’s elected not to do more radiation etc. So, as she sat sipping her iced latte, she told me she was thankful for every minute, every smell, every taste, every sight, sound and experience she has, because she knows it might be her last.
Talking to her really humbled me. How many times have I taken for granted my health and my lack of pain? Or left the house still angry with my husband over something stupid or missed an opportunity to hug my son or just stop and be thankful for being alive and here? And yet this woman who would have every right to be hurt, upset or terrified, is one of the happiest people I’ve ever met because she chooses to appreciate every second of every day.
So, this holiday we call Thanksgiving isn’t really about eating turkey and cranberry sauce until you can’t zip your pants, or making a mental thank you list of your material possessions (you know, thanks for my laptop, my PT Cruiser, my Matthew MacFadyen movie collection, my favorite tennis shoes etc), it’s really about the more non tangible things. I mean, granted, the political climate around the world today isn’t the best, but I am thankful I live in a relatively free society where I’m free to believe what I believe, live as I choose as long as it doesn’t infringe on other’s rights, that I was born in a time where women are appreciated and can achieve whatever they want to, that I have such great people around me including my son, my husband, my family, my friends, that I have a profession that I love, that I’m healthy and happy and I could go on for hours, but you get the idea.
So whether or not you celebrate Thanksgiving, take a few minutes and think about what good things you have going on in your life and I hope this is a great day for you!