Today is Thanksgiving Day in the United States. As a constant student of my new society, I am fast learning that this might be the one holiday in America where genuine kindness abounds. Christmas, Easter, Hanukkah, Halloween and all the others are really about the money. The merchandising that’s done every year on these diverse holidays could make you weep. Not so with Thanksgiving.
Employers give their workers the day off where they’d be hard-pressed on other holidays. Everything slows down, even at the local Wal-Mart.
So today, another Turkey gets pardoned. The news will get that little bit lighter. The big bad world will take the back seat for a moment. American families will attempt to have a normal conversation.
It is still a strange celebration for me though. It seems obvious that one needs to give thanks like everyday. You do not need a holiday for that. But it also goes to show the often difficult relationship between new residents trying to make sense of a fast new brave world, and those who have been here longer.
So, to fit in, I will be at the Thanksgiving table where I’ve been invited and I guess I will have to answer when I am asked what I am thankful for.
I am thankful for family. I am nothing without them. Funny how my view has changed over the last short decade regarding family. There was a time when it could go do whatever in the bathroom if it wanted; I didn’t care.
The families that took our hands and showed us the ropes when we first came to the USA, that I am thankful for. I had my preset beliefs, moulded by the media I consumed for years about White Republican Christians. Let’s just say that card house came crumbling down in the last two years.
The people who’ve been most helpful with information and material help have been in the reddest state, certified, bible-lifting, hallelujah-singing, gun-owning, Jesus-loving Americans. Beat that.
I am thankful that even when I am far from home, I can easily get on a plane and visit when the heart strings have been pulled to breaking point.
I am thankful for Thanksgiving day. Beyond the turkey and warm conversation around that table later today, I know I have an opportunity to put that thankfulness into words.