I love looking at old pictures of Thanksgiving, because it shows how romanticized and idealized we humans can make anything. This is how we tend to think of the “First Thanksgiving,” but it’s so wrong.
- The Pilgrims didn’t invite the Wampanog to the celebration. They were content to celebrate among themselves.
- The Wampanog showed up because the men started having shooting games, and they sent a war party to investigate what was going on.
- When the Wampanog realized there was a party happening, they went out and hunted deer and other animals and brought them as gifts to the Pilgrims.
In other words, our cultural (as well as our biological) ancestors weren’t as perfect as we want to remember them. They made mistakes. They could be horribly arrogant. They had preconceived notions that caused them to miss good things around them. They had bad days. They were human.
(Hmmm. Sounds like me.)
Still, we honor them for the good they created in the world around them.
How Does This Relate to Thanksgiving?
As I’ve written before, I have a tough time with gratitude. Whatever the cause, I can notice and hyper-focus on the negative parts of my life until I miss all the of the good that exists around me. I’m grateful, though, that I have become aware of my habits, because it gives me a chance to change.
So, I think as I celebrate Thanksgiving this year, I will pledge to create more positive space in my life by making some mental changes:
- I pledge to learn to let go of expectations that my life should be more than it is. I am in a wonderful town, surrounded by amazing people. I have made a difference in many lives, and can expect to have more positive impact before I die. That’s definitely a good life.
- I pledge to recognize that I am not responsible for the bad days of the people around me. That was a false rule from a bad marriage. I will help, support, and encourage where I can, and apologize and repair when I’m truly at fault, but I will let go of trying to take on burdens that are not mine to bear.
- I pledge to alter my thinking to see and honor all of the good around me, and to truly recognize that it outweighs the negative.
I pledge to be Thankful.