For many in the United States the root feelings attached to Thanksgiving have been lost. Let’s face it few of us have to physically hunt for wild game for dinner or toil long days gardening in the summer months in order to stockpile enough food to last through the winter. The base meaning of food, actual food was in centuries past all about feeling blessed to have enough sustenance to stay alive. Although hunger does exist in America (most certainly elsewhere in the world) for many the slightest pangs in the stomach mean a short drive to the next corner fast food place. Most children have no idea that carrots, apples etc. come from anywhere but the local grocery store. On this day of thanks most of us don’t really think about giving thanks for food because it is so plentiful.
For others this day is the most dreaded day in the year. Those who struggle with food not as a gift but a curse, those with diagnosable eating disorders, dread, even fear this one Thursday each year. One reason for this is it has become less a day of giving thanks and more a day of socially sanctioned gluttony. This day is all about the food and for those who grapple each day, each minute with food this day can be the epitome of their personal struggle.
Hopefully, many families do use this day, use the food as a reason to gather together, to connect, to bond, to heal, to love one another. Even if our food is no longer scarce, the time we have to say the words of thanks to our loved ones certainly is for many. Of course we certainly still need to recognize the importance of nurturing our bodies with healthy foods (that is a whole other issue...bringing "healthy" foods back). This is something to recognize than give thanks. But, taking a moment to ponder this past year, the blessings, the people who have been there to be supportive, the things that make our lives more comfortable may be truly what this day is about.
It is often easy when we are stressed and busy in our daily lives to only focus on the negatives but acknowledging, looking for the joy can bring so many changes in one’s life. So, even if only for this one day look for the blessings, the people and express your joys.
I wish you all a Thanks Giving!