Gratitude: We Give Thanks This Day

Okay, so this is a few days after Thanksgiving, but I’ve been pondering these things for the past several days.

Growing up Thanksgiving was my favorite holiday. We often enjoyed the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, had dinner, my dad would enjoy football, and we’d usually play games.

We made a habit to place five kernels of corn on each plate in remembrance of the perseverance and scarcity the Pilgrims faced. We discussed gratitude and what we were thankful for.

But this year has been different. This year we went to two family Thanksgiving celebrations. There were standard Protestant meal blessings said, but no focus on gratitude.

And this year I learned to think of the Pilgrims from a different perspective.

Also my bubble was burst when I learned the truth about pumpkin pie!

First Things First

So first I’d like to share with you a poem by O. Eugene Pickett of gratitude from Singing the Living Tradition titled “We Give Thanks This Day”.

For the expanding grandeur of Creation, worlds known and unknown, galaxies beyond galaxies, filling us with awe and challenging our imaginations:

We give thanks this day.

For this fragile planet earth, its times and tides its sunsets and seasons:

We give thanks this day.

For the joy of human life, its wonders and surprises, its hopes and achievements:

We give thanks this day.

For our human community, our common past and future hope, our oneness transcending all separation, our capacity to work for peace and justice in the midst of hostility and oppression:

We give thanks this day.

For high hopes and noble causes, for faith without fanaticism, for understanding of views not shared:

We give thanks this day.

For all who have labored and suffered for a fairer world, who have lived so that others might live in dignity and freedom:

We give thanks this day.

For human liberty and sacred rites; for opportunities to change and grow, to affirm and choose:

We give thanks this day. We pray that we may live not by our fears but by our hopes, not by our words but by our deeds.

Perhaps these are not the concepts that move you to feel gratitude. I hope that whatever moves you to gratitude you will take a few moments to reflect on it. Gratitude is powerful where mental health is concerned. I can attest that it boosts my mood.

The First Thanksgiving Myth

My education was very biased, I have found. Much of my learning of American History revolved around The Light and the Glory and various biographies of important Americans.

Growing up one of my closest friends had a friend/crush that was a descendant of Plymouth’s original governor: William Bradford. She was Plymouth Brethren. I dated a guy who was Plymouth Brethren, and was friends with a Quaker. Their worldviews made an impression on me.

I knew that the land they colonized had once belonged to a tribe that died out. I knew that Native Americans were given smallpox blankets. I knew that even George Washington vilified the Native Americans in his State of the Union Addresses.

Somehow, though, with all this knowledge, it didn’t really register. The carefully white-washed version that glorified the settlers at Plymouth, also glossed over the grave robbing in such a way that it seemed more like … Providence.

Somehow it seemed divine that they were led to this particular spot off course and instead of fighting for land they took land that wasn’t being used … because the inhabitants had been plagued by the presence of white men for decades.

Somehow it seemed disjointed. After reading this post, these people and dates and incidents all fractured in my mind, made me rethink the truths I learned.

I knew my education was slanted, but it never occurred to me that even the history books I had were ridiculously sugar coated.

So … here we go: the Five Kernels of Corn was debunked in the 1950s. The peaceful gathering of the Wampanoag with the Pilgrims was based European settlers celebrating “Harvest Home” as they had always done, and the Wampanoag seeking an ally as a defensive measure considering another tribe.

On a side note – the Wampanoag are at risk of losing their present day land.

Click here to learn how you can help.

The Pumpkins Are a Lie

I read an article saying … that the pumpkins were a lie. I didn’t believe it. I can’t find the original one I read. I read more articles and had to face the pitiful truth: most field pumpkins taste awful, so a squash by another name tastes even better.

It surprised me, though, because when I’ve made fresh pumpkin pie they taste so much better. The color is a much deeper brown. I assumed it was me using more spice or a different variety – not that I was as cooking a different species all together!

Day After Thanksgiving Cookies

I’ll have to use my “pumpkin” pie filling to make some of these cookies I heard about from Timelesslady’s blog, Minding My Ps and Qs. It’s going to be a busy week, but maybe I can get around to it. They sound so yummy that I had to share them, though I will have to make modifications so that it fits with my prescribed diet. Unfortunately there aren’t any white chips that work for me, so I’ll be using solely Enjoy Life chips.

Weekend Wishes

There was a German lady I had the privilege of making as an acquaintance. She was beautiful, strong, and funny. She’s moved away and we’ve fallen out of contact. For years, though, she had a newsletter she sent out on Fridays in the early evenings called “Weekend Wishes“. I’m grateful to have met her. She took photos and matted them. I bought one of a swan for a fundraiser she was doing. I can’t even remember what it was for, but I felt inspired by her and bought it. After a while she stopped doing the newsletter. I’m thinking of carrying on the tradition but with my own twist. I’m hoping that by helping others my own melancholy will be reduced.

What Thanksgiving traditions do you have?

One Comment Add yours

  1. Timelesslady says:

    Hi, Thanks so much for linking back to the cookie post.

    Liked by 1 person

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