It’s nearly Thanksgiving, here in the US. It is a holiday I have often loved, despite its terribly convoluted political history and condition. It is a holiday mightily affected by cultural appropriation (and flat-out caricature), a holiday often grounded in an historical lie of peaceful encounters between peoples equal in power and affection, a holiday immediately followed by one of the grossest festival displays of consumerism on the planet.
And yet, it is for me wrapped up in a history of joy. It is a history of many turkeys—a goose, duck, or ham along the way—of family recipes, and wonderful conversation. It is a history of flowing red wine and steaming homemade gingerbread. It is a history of hospitality; anyone who didn’t have a place to be could come to our house. It is a history of the many “Thanksgivings for strays” I hosted myself in the college town where I spent my twenties.
You can make the argument—it’s not hard at all to do so—that my history of Thanksgiving is a history of ignorance and the privilege that supported it.
That is probably, almost certainly, true.
Bur I step forward into the holiday this year, knowing as I have for many years, that it is a complicated time.
I make the family recipes. I pour the wine. I welcome the friends.
And I give thanks.
After all, that is what I have learned over the years. Thanksgiving as it has been practiced in my history is for gratitude (that is, thanksgiving!), especially gratitude expressed in the context of hospitality..
So for what am I grateful this year?
For many things, many people, many states of mind, many blessings.
And I am grateful for you. The Way of the River has been a tremendous blessing since it began in August, and I am grateful for all of you who have welcomed me into your lives. I am grateful for those who read Reflections, the weekly newsletter, for all of you who read this blog, for my clients, and for those who take my classes. I am grateful for the support of friends and friends-of-friends on Facebook, and for everyone who is supporting this ministry.
Thank you, and for those of you who celebrate the day, happy Thanksgiving.