Thanksgiving is this country's annual holiday for celebrating the present. It is not for food, or football or parades, but rather for remembering how we need each other and being thankful for the people in our lives and what we hold dear. The simple stories of the Indians helping the Pilgrims we learned in kindergarten are teaching lessons of humanity. We all want each other to do well and thrive and spend the next year together. It is valuing each other and showing small gestures of kindness and everyday gratefulness. It is being thankful that your bag arrives safely, the line is shorter than might have been expected, the people all present this year at dinner. Thanksgiving is not a day to compete or criticize or want more. Thanksgiving is a day to appreciate exactly what you have at the moment.
It is a day to tell people you appreciate their presence. I have the privilege of having friends and family all over the world and I may not see them often, but I am grateful for them in my life. One of my dearest friend from law school lives in Seattle now, and we have not had the opportunity to see each other in years, but she is often present in my thoughts and we make a conscious effort to try to tell each other that we are thankful for each other. We can easily discuss our present lives with each other. We can message how a dinner was or what to wear to birthday party and cheer each other on when we share good news. Thanksgiving is a reflection of the importance of those simple exchanges and shared moments. It is appreciating that we have special people in our lives to share our days with. We place importance on what someone might like to eat or what a favorite dessert is, because we are thankful for them. It is a day of simple gestures of thoughtfulness and thankfulness. It is a reminder to appreciate the present.
It is the one day of the year that we might set aside to see far away relatives or spend time with loved ones that we might not normally have the opportunity to see. We carry on with these traditions of the holiday not for the chance to cook a turkey or go to a grocery store, but because it is pleasant to spend a day being thankful in the present. It is the joy of simple caring conversations. Thanksgiving is a day to bring joy to shared tables and appreciate exactly what you have at that moment.