Next week our country will be celebrating a holiday that first began when our ancestors were the immigrants – a motley bunch of rag-tag foreigners with their own ideas about everything. Our ancestors brought high expectations to new shores. They also brought diseases, customs, sensibilities and prejudices. Don’t you believe for a minute that they all got along without strife on the voyage across the ocean. They were not all from the same communities and they had their insurmountable differences between and among each other.
But they found themselves all together in a new place, without knowing much about what to expect from the Native Americans. They surely formed committees to discuss the “what-if’s” and found reasons to band together.
On the other side – we have an established settlement of Native Americans, some families scattered a distance from their kin. But they communicated with one another regularly to discuss what game was available and where, which leader with a marriageable daughter was seeking a young man to take over for him. All these separate groupings were living quietly among themselves. Occasionally counting coup on a neighboring tribe, but it was all in good spirits and acceptable behavior.
And suddenly their every-day world was interrupted by a bunch of strangers who came on shore, bedraggled and bereft of their belongings. Seeking asylum and requiring everything basic like food, clothing and shelter.
Were the Native Americans a bit apprehensive about this influx of humanity? Did they turn and run back to their homes? Did they grab their weapons and charge forward to drive this mass of unhealthy, unhappy people back to the ocean?
That’s enough of a history lesson – you have the picture. And with the current world turmoil of recent news still in mind, you also see the parallel. Your face doesn’t need to be rubbed in it.
Thanksgiving is a time of sharing and caring. We visit the local food kitchens to occasionally help serve meals to the hungry. We donate to the local food banks for those who have homes and kitchens sufficient to make do with what they can collect on a weekly basis. The drives to clothe kids with winter coats always gets us involved, as do the other used clothing collectors. The charities that appeal to us during this time of year usually see an up-tick in their coffers.
And we try to close our eyes and ears to the stories of people in need that we cannot personally help – offering prayers as our only means.
But just as sharing and caring go together, there are many other emotions that gather in groups during this season and into the beginning of the new year. It is this hand-in-hand emotional build-up that often brings tension to families and friends. One cannot honestly feel grateful without also feeling humble – or – joyful… or all three at once. True listening pairs with caring, true Love with Understanding – followed by Wisdom, circling back to Caring. Suddenly our emotions cannot be separated into tight, little boxes of feelings. We experience the blending of all of these and overwhelm can surface.
Gather together in groups where you feel comfort and love – share your Thanksgiving meal with the ones you wish to, relax and allow the blessings of the season to wrap around you. And fill your heart with prayers. Pray for everyone, for everything, for the world to receive the Peace and Understanding and Love that is all around the atmosphere. Picture the individuals in need reaching up and pulling down into their heart the one blessed feeling that they need right now. As for Thanksgiving itself – you will choose correctly.