It's interesting that we mark one day of the year as a time to give thanks. As history tells us, the first "Thanksgiving" followed the brutal winter of 1620, when half the original settlers of the Mayflower died. In the spring of 1621, Native Americans taught the settlers to grow corn, tap maple sap, catch fish, and forage for edible plants. That fall, after a successful harvest, a celebration was held, with both pilgrim and Native American celebrants. Food was cooked according to traditional Wampanoag methods. The festivities lasted three days, and did not include sugar.
As the holiday evolved, we seem to have forgotten that the original feast was a celebration of survival. A small group of people faced a dark night of the soul where death was a constant companion, and emerged tattered but alive. Native Americans understood the idea of giving thanks for all food, all the time, as it was a gift from the earth and not to be taken for granted. They also understood that knowledge was a gift to be shared rather than hoarded.
How many of us have been through a dark night in these past few years? How many of us have discovered that in spite of challenge and hardship, we are tenacious and adaptable enough to transform our lives as needed? Are you focused on what you've lost or on what you are blessed to have? If your life has taken a financial downturn, have you found the gift and freedom of greater simplicity? Have you remembered that the love we carry in our lives has no price tag? A gift lies in the darkest of circumstances if only we have the eyes to see it.
As this holiday season approaches, let's all cultivate an attitude of gratitude for the things that are going well in our lives. Give thanks.
Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving.