Thanksgiving and Relationships


By Nancy Smorch

So tomorrow is the big day! It’s an exciting time for me. Tomorrow is the first time we will be having Thanksgiving at our house for quite a few years.

In all of the excitement and the rushing to make sure the meal is prepared for everyone, I wanted to make sure I stepped back and looked at the bigger picture of Thanksgiving when planning for tomorrow. Yes, Thanksgiving has always been about enjoying a “feast” (and I am making sure I have plenty of nourishing and delicious food available), but it’s also about relationships.

If you look back to what Thanksgiving was originally supposed to be about, it was “supposed” to be about two totally different groups of people coming together to celebrate how they worked together and taught each other to survive in the New World. Now, without getting into how you feel about what actually happened, I would like to learn what I can from that historical event. Since I can’t change the past, here’s what I am choosing to focus on.

There was a group of people coming from another land over to the New World - taking a HUGE risk - leaving everything that was familiar to them to try to create a new life - a better life. That alone is amazing when you think about it! How many people today do you think would be willing to travel so long and far to a place that so little was known about? Safety and security certainly weren’t holding the early settlers back!

And now, think about those settlers in a brand new world with different food sources than what they had before. It was different land, they weren’t familiar with where the good growing places were and what you could grow and how to grow it. What worked back home may not have worked in the New World, and it’s not like if their crops or hunting didn’t go so well, that they could go down the road to the grocery store - this was life or death for them.

They needed help and they received help from the Native people. Everyone needed to work together in order to survive. People needed to offer their talents, push through their challenges, and become extremely creative and resilient. That is what I’d like to focus on.

Today, although most of us aren’t struggling to merely stay alive like the early settlers were, we are all still experiencing challenges and creating and experiencing stress almost daily. What I am proposing here is that we recognize that we are all in this together - we need each other, not only to survive, but to thrive.

So maybe over this holiday weekend, we look around at the people in our lives (and the animals!) and focus on the perfection of them - in all of their imperfections. Life is stressful enough without adding to it all of the drama we create around relationships. Let’s focus on the good in the relationships in our lives and be grateful for them.

I’m serious about this. On Thanksgiving, before you get together with everyone, think about each person that is going to be there, and think about at least one positive trait each of them has. Then, notice how you feel when you get together with them.

And rather than trying to bring others down, try lifting them up - it will feel really good - to both of you!

As I’ve said before, food isn’t the only thing we nourish ourselves with, relationships are a key “nutrient” in our diet as well. So on this Thanksgiving, let’s be grateful for not only the wonderful food we will be creating but also to the wonderful relationships in our lives.

Happy Thanksgiving!