This whole month bombarded us with reminders: BE GRATEFUL! It’s not a bad reminder, but sometimes true thanks can get lost in a soup of clichés and bumper-sticker messages. The honest truth isn’t always easy to nail own.

A Time for Giving Thanks

I’m thankful today, not because we celebrate Thanksgiving this week in this country. I’m thankful today because I’m thankful every day. Even on the bad days, I name at least twenty-three gratitudes, true thanks.

Sometimes my thanks are of the clichéd and vague family, friend, shelter ilk, but I’m honestly grateful.

Some days I thank the emery board I used to file down a hangnail, the car that brought me safely home, the phone call from a child, the coffee maker…

I’m not an enemy of a whole day set aside for thanks. My hang up is around the myth of the holiday.

True Myths

I resonate with those who love this holiday for the food and the people and with those who reject it for the myth that continues to be part of our culture and early-education curricula.

When I married into a culture that doesn’t celebrate the traditions of my childhood, I took an honest look. It wasn’t the first time I scrutinized myths we retell and preach, but this time my new roles as wife and mother galvanized my scrutiny. I wanted integrity in the traditions and stories our family would carry.

Unsurprisingly, the good pilgrim myth is not part of my true thanks on this day of giving thanks.

Debunking the myths can be frightening because we’re attached to ritual and tradition. But the honest look at our stories never made the holidays less meaningful for me, and sometimes the effort allowed me to dive deeper into the true meaning and history around traditions. If you never have, consider googling Yuletide, painted eggs, Puritan days of Thanksgiving…

The First Thanksgiving

This is the first Thanksgiving since mom died. It’s hard for most of us. As my family gathers, some of us are uncomfortable, out of sorts. It’s a difficult holiday.

How do we carve out our gratefuls in this soup of sorrow, challenges, fears, and resentment, in this season when big things are falling apart and heartbreak thunders in our bellies?

The honest look chills my heart, but I’ll seek the warmth where it still blooms. As the myth of our family unravels, I’ll give true thanks for what remains.

©Pennie Nichols. All Rights Reserved. 2022