This original post is from several years ago. It’s been edited to reflect this year’s extra weirdness.
A typical greeting on Thanksgiving is, “Happy Thanksgiving,” but I much prefer,
“I wish you a MEANINGFUL Thanksgiving.”
I actually take this tack with most holidays and even just plain old days. This hope for “meaning,” applies this year as much as any other. Many of us are about to embark on a Thanksgiving like no other one in the past. We may be missing our parents, kids, extended family and friends. Still, how many people have felt totally alone even when a pandemic isn’t spiking? Lots and lots.
Not that you’ve asked, but for me, the typical Thanksgiving greeting, reeks of a lack of inclusion of all people. It’s downright platitudinous. Do you really want to say, “Happy Thanksgiving,” to indigenous people? Many Native Americans observe this day, as a day of mourning or “UnThanksgiving.”
There are also the scores of individuals who think they have nowhere to go or feel as if they have nothing to be thankful for. They need our investment, love and service far more than hearing some “Happy Thanksgiving” mention.
I realize I sound like a buzzkill. This is not my intention. Today, as some of us enjoy time spent with those who live in our households, far too many carbs, and 83 recipes that include condensed cream of mushroom soup and fried onions, (both from cans), for me, the typical celebration of Thanksgiving is a small portion of this holiday.
Almost 20 years ago, I consciously decided that if I sought to be of maximum service to other people, (which in turn, is me being of service to myself), Thanksgiving required new traditions. Without delving into what these are, the basic gist of it is to try to infect others with the practice of being thankful for something. ANYTHING. Many times, this totally works. When it doesn’t, I fully relate to that very valid, ungrateful human being. I honor them and I honor myself and OUR respective histories.
Haven’t we all been in the dumps? Haven’t we all spent time scrounging for gratitude? When we’ve had enough of working our asses off to feel appreciative of something, haven’t we all thought, “Screw being grateful. Grateful for what?”
Someone very close to me said to me a few days ago, “Pam, I think you think too much.” This is probably true.
A few weeks ago, I was walking with a friend and she said, “Pam, why do so many awful things seem to follow you wherever you go?” AND, years ago, someone who was interested in me, refused to date me because of the dark cloud they believed existed above my head. (P.S. I just looked up and the sky is clear.)
The truth is, I so rarely see life in an ultra-negative way, but when it’s dark, it can be pitch black. I’ve had some very dark days, but I rarely ask, “Why?”
I will never know exactly why this or that happens and that search is counterproductive in my opinion. Also, history has proven I always grow from tough scrapes and without exception, end up better for the struggle.
I DO know that despite challenges, and lately, I’ve had some really big ones… I am a pretty thankful person. This PRACTICE of gratitude takes work, commitment and real decision-making. I am not going to pretend this practice is easy. It isn’t, but I have been dedicated to practicing for a long time and it’s become the go-to. I choose to see the gifts in the mire. I choose to contend with shit-sandwiches in a way in which others may rise above their challenges. This think-y woman wouldn’t have it any other way. The return on investment is too great to accurately describe. I believe I am alive today due to this one practice.
So, on Thanksgiving, I wish that you may experience something very meaningful. I pray you receive some semblance of peace, love and joy. If you are lonely or are convinced you are alone in this world, please message me. I will do all I can to help you see the truth about how we are very much together in this world and that whatever you are dealing with, will pass.
You will not move forward alone, but please, move forward.
Thankful for you, exactly as you are, in this very moment.