This is a Thanksgiving unlike any other I have known. I am still reeling from the results of the election, as I think many of you are. I was going to share some recipes, and some tips, but that feels trivial to me right now. It’s going to be challenging to be thankful with everything that is happening.
But we have to rise above. That is not to say we normalize the situation, ignore it or take no action. I believe that now more than ever, we must stand up for kindness and empathy.
So here is my take on getting through this Thanksgiving.
We need to celebrate our differences. We need to celebrate our heritage and our cultures. We need to share our stories, and we need to hear the stories from others. Our diversity is what makes us strong. So we cannot give in to those who say otherwise. Ever.
I see many people who are struggling and are afraid. This is not who we are as a nation. We don’t incite fear, we work to take it away. Always.
So how to get through this holiday when the whole premise is to be thankful? Not easy.
First, I think we all need to give ourselves a break. Not to forget, but just to let ourselves find a spot that is less painful. We need to put our outrage and our anger on hold for one day. And we need to surround ourselves with our family and friends that we love. Use this Thanksgiving meal as your safe place. Enjoy the community of your own traditions. Find comfort in your meal and in your loved ones.
You can also give back. Go to a church or homeless shelter and serve dinner to those in need. They need to know that they have not been forgotten. You can also donate to causes to help feed the hungry. One is feedingamerica.org, but there are many national and local organizations that could use your support. Or invite a person or people that you don’t know very well to your dinner. In the Jewish faith, at Passover, it is customary to have one stranger at the meal. Find someone who you would like to get to know, and invite them. Expand your community to beyond your familiar gathering of folks. Be open. Be welcoming.
Celebrate diversity at your meal. While it is comforting to always have the same menu for the holiday, try adding a dish from another culture. I found this New York Times article called “The American Thanksgiving” which is about all of the different menus from families of all different cultures. It is what this nation is all about. So try something new. Add some diversity to your menu. You can find the link to the article here. It is inspiring.
Be thankful for what you have. This feels like a tall order right now and I struggle with this concept myself. But in spite of all that is going on in this country, we are fortunate. And we do have the ability to make change. I see it happening in the people who are rallying to run for office in their town or county. I plan to attend the Million Women March in Washington DC on January 21. I see it with people wearing safety pins and offering safe haven to those who are afraid.
Be thankful for those that you love and who love you. My 94-year-old mother, Betty passed away on November 1. So I am going through that list of “firsts”. First Thanksgiving without her, next will be Christmas. Both my father and my only sister passed away over 10 years ago. With the passing of my Mom, I am now parent-less. It’s a weird feeling. But I have a loving family, and I am so thankful for all of them. I wrote a blog post about my Mom and her banana cake recipe. You can read it here. She would like that.
And after this holiday is over, take your strength and your fortitude to do what is right. Get involved. Run for the school board, your town council or get involved with a cause that you are passionate about.
What we cannot do is nothing. What we cannot do is normalize this. It took Hitler over ten years to bring about the persecution of the Jews, Catholics, People of Color, LGBT, those with mental or physical disabilities, Freemasons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, the list goes on.
History cannot repeat itself. And it will take all of us to protect the freedoms that are the core of this country. I am counting on all of you.
Let’s get to work.
Remember the sky that you were born under,
know each of the star’s stories.
Remember the moon, know who she is.
Remember the sun’s birth at dawn, that is the
strongest point of time. Remember sundown
and the giving away to night.
Remember your birth, how your mother struggled
to give you form and breath. You are evidence of
her life, and her mother’s, and hers.
Remember your father. He is your life, also.
Remember the earth whose skin you are:
red earth, black earth, yellow earth, white earth
brown earth, we are earth.
Remember the plants, trees, animal life who all have their
tribes, their families, their histories, too. Talk to them,
listen to them. They are alive poems.
Remember the wind. Remember her voice. She knows the
origin of this universe.
Remember you are all people and all people
Remember you are this universe and this
universe is you.
Remember all is in motion, is growing, is you.
Remember language comes from this.
Remember the dance language is, that life is.