Giving thanks on this day of Thanksgiving

Written by on November 28, 2013 in Learning to Breathe - 9 Comments

This month is the month of Thanksgiving (at least in the US). Thanksgiving, officially is a holiday celebrated in the United States on the fourth Thursday in November and is now known as the “eating holiday” because it is more defined by eating an abundance of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, yams, pumpkin everything, and all kinds of pies (pumpkin, pecan, apple…) than by actually remembering to be thankful for anything (which was really the original point of the holiday). According to Wikipedia, “the event that Americans commonly call the ‘First Thanksgiving’ was celebrated by the Pilgrims after their first harvest in the New World in 1621.[3] This feast lasted three days, and it was attended by 90 Native Americans (as accounted by attendee Edward Winslow)[4] and 53 Pilgrims.[5] The New England colonists were accustomed to regularly celebrating ‘thanksgivings’—days of prayer thanking God for blessings such as military victory or the end of a drought.[6] ” So it is these colonists that we can thank for the idea of giving thanks.

The idea behind Thanksgiving was supposed to be a day when we think about things and people that we are grateful for and when we remember those things and give thanks to them. Even though I am currently living in London, I still celebrate Thanksgiving every year. When I was in the US, that dinner would normally be a big group of family and close family friends gathering in my parents’ house. My home these days is too small for a big group, so my celebration every year is a smaller one, just with close friends and their children. I do focus on the food of the holiday of course (that is after all one of the best parts). But I also think it’s important to not forget the thankfulness part of the holiday. After all, how often do we really remember to be grateful for what we have. Normally, it’s the opposite: we walk around thinking about what we lack, what we don’t like, and what we’d like to change, or at least where we’d like to be eventually (that isn’t where we are at the moment).

In life, those of us who, like me, are so terribly imperfect — we often stumble on our own misguided steps. I lost count a long ago of the number of times I’ve been mistaken in my actions, my way of treating others and the number of people who fell into my path when I was shoving through on my way to somewhere supposedly better. I have been, much too often really, a not so great person. I’d like to say that this mistake was confined to my youth, but, unfortunately, there have been enough incidences in my adult life as well (and even recent ones) to demonstrate the opposite. Through all of my failures, and throughout my occasional deception of myself, there has always been one thing that has helped me through the hard times: the support of my close friends and family. Not only have they been there to help me when I’m down, as a helpful ear to speak to when I needed someone, and as consultants when I really need some advice, but they have also on very necessary occasions told me in just the right kind of words when I was heading in the wrong direction (this is especially true of my very helpful parents who tell me that often).

So in this very important time of Thanksgiving, I want to give thanks to the important people in my life who are the reasons why I am still here (and not completely lost somewhere) and still relatively grounded (relatively being the key word). Thank you. I don’t know what I would have done without you. Now let’s eat. 😉


Stay tuned for next month’s entry on Christmas in the magical city of Paris.

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