As Americans we all know that the third Thursday of November is reserved for this holiday of eating turkey, pumpkin pie, and cranberry sauce. Many families will gather from across the country while others will celebrate it abroad, like myself.
I have spent many holiday seasons abroad. Explaining this holiday to people not familiar with this American custom can get some strange looks and weird questions. But, when it comes to the true meaning of this day it isn’t about the food and American football (I need to specifically mention that this year, as the rest of the World is watching the “other football”…soccer), the holiday is about being thankful for what we have and what others provide for us to maintain our lives. A moment each year to reflect we are NOT alone on this planet.
In 2003, I spent my Thanksgiving at the Salvation Army in Shawnee, Oklahoma. I was alone, I had lost my children to my ex-husband in a bitter custody battle. By Thanksgiving, I had already experienced homelessness, was jailed for several months, and really didn’t know that if my life would ever be normal again.
On that Thanksgiving day, I forced myself out of the small apartment I had just scraped together enough money to rent and headed to the free dinner at the Salvation Army. I needed to feel connected to other humans who also felt all alone on this holiday, I needed to feel “thankful”.
I am still grateful for those few moments years ago when I sat and ate with fellow Americans in a much to cool room to have a hot meal.
I felt hopeful at that moment and thankful that someone had prepared a thanksgiving meal, provided to so many who had mostly nothing on this day.
I was thankful for the volunteers who worked to prepare the meal, to those who “served” the meals to those of us who filtered in to a crowed rooms, some in rags, many of us looking like hope was totally lost. We each received a smile,a kind word from those volunteers. I am sure most of those in attendance had not received such kindness from anyone outside those walls in months. I know for the several months of that year I was one of those “forgotten” “unseen” people.
Yet, we all sat an ate a thankful meal together. We shared stories, we laughed, some even cried from the kindness of that Salvation Army community.
Kindness and being grateful for what we have at this very moment is what Thanksgiving is about.
It is obvious to my blog followers and my friends who helped me through that struggle in 2003, I have come a long way since that Thanksgiving Day. I have never forgotten that kindness given to me as I struggled to recover from such devastating events.
On this Thanksgiving please remember all those who will not be with family gathering around a table of abundant food. Show some kindness to those in your community who are homeless, or alone on this holiday, who knows, your one simple act could help a person who needs hope, who might one day become a American canoe blogger living overseas.
Thank you my fellow bloggers for your continued support, followers for reading, Hubby for proof reading and being my life partner and Captain of our canoe trips. I am grateful to all who are military serving away from home this holiday. I am so thankful for the two sons I have who have grown into fine young men who sacrificed so many holidays without a family holiday due to my military service and my unfortunate situation in 2003.
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