Happy Thanksgiving

I love Thanksgiving because it's an all-inclusive holiday. There is no way to offend someone by wishing them a Happy Thanksgiving, no political correctness involved. On this one day, in the good old USA, everyone is on the same page, celebrating the same thing. I know that not everyone has a turkey feast, and not everyone is able to find a reason to be thankful. But I also know we have enough in this country. More than enough. The problem is in distribution.

I went to Europe when I was 19, with my friend Shauna. We left in the fall, and traveled for three months. It was the first time I had ever been away from home for the Holidays, and it was shocking. Somehow it didn't occur t me that our American Thanksgiving wouldn't overflow across the ocean and find us somewhere in Spain. When we set out in search of our holiday feast that evening, we were met with blank looks and regular menus. As I recall, we settled for a greasy chicken soup with chickpeas, and several bottles of cheap beer. It was an eye-opener. Wow... the whole world isn't like us...

The only other time I've spent Thanksgiving outside the US was two years ago, when Rick and I went to Ethiopia as volunteers. Certainly the local villagers had no concept of our holiday, but the Cunninghams, who were excellent hosts for our journey, make it a tradition to cook a big Thanksgiving feast for all the volunteers each year. Food is bought in Addis Ababa, and transported three hours on bad roads to Project Mercy, where the wonderful cooks on staff assist Noel in preparing the meal. It was wonderful... and also quite unsettling for me.

It was still a school day for the village kids who were lucky enough to attend. Part of the draw to apply for a place in the school is the two meals that are provided each day. A day off from school means a day without food for many of them. I watched those kids line up for their cup of fortified hot cereal and hunk of plain hard bread, knowing they could smell the turkey cooking behind the scenes for us. Talk about a distribution problem... and another eye-opener.

I didn't know how to fix it then, and I still don't know now. I enjoyed my dinner in Ethiopia, and was grateful to have it, but I also came away with a deep, heart-centered wish to work on distribution wherever I can. I can't save the world. Neither can you. But we can do small, and sometimes large things to help. Oh dear... This was not at all what I'd intended to write this morning, but it's what came out, so I'm letting it stay. I don't mean to bring anyone down. I mean to boost you up like a balloon in the Macy's Parade, point out that we have a gifted and glorious life, and encourage all of us to be more grateful than ever for what we have, and to share just a little bit more than usual this season.

Like I said, I love Thanksgiving, and I want everyone to be included. I intend to enjoy my day, my friends, and my food, guilt-free, with gusto and gratitude. I hope you will too. And in the back of our minds, lets all try to come up with ways to fix this Distribution Problem, not from a place of feeling sorry for someone else, but from feeling our own abundance, and sharing our own gifts and talents. That's where we have the most to offer. That's where the real changes start to happen.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all, with Love, from me.

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Comments

Penny said…
Happy Thanksgiving to you too :). I lived in Germany as a little girl, and I honestly can't remember celebrating Thanksgiving at all over there, even with my American friends lol. Don't know if you remember, but there was a commercial some years ago that addressed the fact that there is more than just Christmas to celebrate. At the end, they said, "Happy ChristmaHannaKwanzaCan" lol.

Have a wonderful one with you, the hubs and the pups :).

Penny \IiiI
Zoe Nelson said…
Keeping us centered, as usual, Kim! Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. I'm thankful for your heartwarming posts.
MaggieRae said…
Happy Thanksgiving, Kim.. and everyone else too!

I hope you enjoy your day with family and friends.

Raella
m.e. said…
The world does seem to need "fixing "
I have moments of wonderment at the unevenness of it all.I know many of the "haves " suffer moments of guilt when thinking of the "have nots"
But, no amount of guilt will made even the smallest change .Small changes are all most of us can hope to make. But, you know ...lot's of smalls equal large.
I choose today to forget my guilt and savor my blessings, including my hearty meal. BUT..while giving thanks for what I have,I will try to think of ways I can share some it. Maybe we each ,in even smallest way ,can help to even out the world a bit.
Best wishes to all, m.e. :)
Deb said…
An easy way to give is called micro-giving. Many organizations are offering the chance to make small donations to change the lives of people who just need a bit of help to get over the hurdle, and often it becomes a "pay it forward".
Giving doesn't have to be painful, nor should it be limited to only the holiday season. Giving spreads love more quickly than anything else I can think of. Thanks for giving us your gift of beauty Kim.
Merikay said…
All cultures have feasts in good times. The problem is for so many there are no "good times."

For the last few years I have felt a bit guilty with my full trunk of food knowing others in my own community are in need.

Yesterday I dropped a donation into a food collection pot outside the grocery. (one of the food banks is doing something much like the Salvation Army bell ringers.

I know I should do more.
Sue said…
Happy Thanksgiving.
Julie K. said…
Kim,
I'm enjoying your post more than ever lately.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.
I've been holding out for just the "right" Gratitude bracelet - which for me was ~ #11.45.
I missed it, but maybe that means I'm supposed to win one :-)
Julie K
Francoise said…
Happy Thanksgiving, Kim!
I could not agree more with what you wrote: I have so much to be thankful for, year after year, and each year my thoughts go to the ones who can just dream of being as spoilt by life as I have been. Strange feeling, I cannot save the world either, but I sure wish I could, and I try to do as much as I can -- and teach my kids to do the same!
One of my wishes today is for Julie K. to win the bracelet... since I bought the one she wanted!
Francoise
wmt1019 said…
Happy Thanksgiving!!! Count your many blessings : )
Anonymous said…
Hi Kim! Happy Thanksgiving from Pennsylvania! Carol M.
Renee said…
Happy Thanksgiving Kim! Appreciate the thoughtfulness of your posts.
Anonymous said…
Happy Day after Thanksgiving. Hope everyone has a wonderful day. Mine was filled with family and laughter. Suzie
Anonymous said…
Happy belated Thanksgiving to You and Rick and the critters ! It was a good day to stay in and cook becasue it was freezingggggg ! I am so thankful for my family and good friends and beads and fabric and yarn and................... : ) April N
PA said…
This time last year I had just returned from a long dreamed of vacation to Africa. But as you observed there, I was struck by the difference in what our standards for "comfortable" living are from somewhere like that. It made me accutely aware of just how much I had to be thankful for. Hope I keep that awareness. Polly Anna
Anonymous said…
The only way to fix the "distribution problem" or indeed, ANY problem, is to get out and DO something - work for political change, teach someone to read, and vote, vote, VOTE! There is so much need out in the world and so many ways to make a difference. Let's all pledge to help the less fortunate among us this holiday season instead of shopping - that would send a message to our "leaders", would it not?