Thanksgiving. Thanks. Giving. Thanksgiving. Great day, Interesting Word(s)
By: Aron Neelie
Thanks for giving to this year’s annual
hedgehog fund. … Not at $250,000 a pop.
Thank you for participating in this year’s $1,000,000 fundraising activity. … Not from my favorite charity.
Thank you for giving me life and love.
Thank you for giving me an education.
Thank you for giving me this feast.
…Yes. Those. Those are the ones.
That’s a Thanksgiving.
When ‘family and friends’, and ‘friends who are family’ gather and talk and eat and . are thankful. That’s Thanksgiving. Thankful for the people who are around, thankful for the plentiful feast, thankful for health . thankful.
It’s a time when family and friends, for some odd reason, mean more than any other time of the year. Maybe it’s the coldness outside; maybe it’s the warmth of the fire. Maybe it’s the warmth of the fond memories. Maybe it’s a yearning for all that wasn’t. But no matter, it’s a certain time of the year, of the seasons, of our lives. It’s that way for everyone, all over the world, in every household. It’s a time to reflect upon previous doings and goings on with our family and friends. A time to think about what ‘will be’.
And NOT a time to think about what ‘should’ve’ been. There’s no reason to think about negative things or things over which we have no control. No. It’s a time to think only of favorite things; things for which to be thankful; that which has been meaningful in our lives and in our year. And then to think about how we gave. How we inadvertently gave and how we purposefully gave. And to think of those who may be thankful for our existence, our giving. To think maybe how we could’ve given differently or better or more or some.
It’s a time to notice. To look at your family and friends for who they are, not for who you think they are, but who they are as they represent themselves to be and to be thankful that they are with you. Take notice and appreciate them for whom they have become. Be thankful for how they have enriched your life. Look at them and be thankful that they are still around after all that’s ‘gone on’. After all the ‘things’ that have happened throughout the year, throughout the decades. After all of the giving and the taking. It’s nice to see them for who they are and to be thankful that we have them in our lives now, and hopefully in our tomorrows.
Our friends may be our family, but our traditional family will always be our family. Even if the traditional family is typically modern or dysfunctional. They are still our family. They are the people with whom we have shared our first moments of life. People with whom we relied upon for shelter, clothing, protection, love, friendship. People whom we wanted more than anything to love us, all of the time, and always unconditionally. They are the people we first trusted. The ones with whom we first experienced our joys. They are our first teachers. They are.our family.
And no matter what life brought, and didn’t bring, they will always be, whether we chose to acknowledge them or not, our “family”. A special title for a group of individuals who were tossed together into one, without prior knowledge, experience or authorization. A family just “is” because they “are”. They exist as a grouping of one, made up of individuals.
Some families believe they have grown so far apart they are irreparable. That’s not much for which to be thankful. Although of course, there are some families that are genuinely best apart for one reason or a couple of dozen psychologically, criminally and/or sociopathically more reasons. And the thankfulness, is that the problem has been recognized and is being corrected and all are ‘moving on’. But some families do not have that excuse. They’ve stuck their feet in mud and everyone’s gotten used to it and no one wants to take the initiative to do anything. Yet everyone complains but no one does anything . well, if that’s what they’ve chosen . but that won’t fill a heart with joy and thankfulness. But if you are a complainer or like to criticize, then the feet in the mud situation is something to be thankful for because that is how you thrive and survive.
And although you may be the only one thankful for the chaos, it is yours and maybe yours alone, so that’s something for which to be thankful. And although, who we are affects those around us, that’s all part of being together and getting along together. That’s all part of being a family. Getting along requires accountability, consideration, courtesy and respect. This Holiday is a time for being thankful for the tolerance and enrichment of those who affect our lives.
Not all families exist the same way. Some don’t exist as a group, even a distantly, dysfunctional group. They have ceased to exist as a continuing unit. They have stopped all communications. But they were a cohesive group . Once.
How they are now may not be much to be thankful for, but what they had when they started was something for which to be thankful. It was a new beginning.
They had the opportunity. They began as a group. A group with one huge thing in common … themselves. Each other. “The Family”. They had the opportunity to be open with one another, to act in a loving and gracious, courteous and responsible manner. To be individuals and to act as a group. To be loved and to love. To teach and to appreciate. But the group is no longer, and opportunity, has maybe all but vanished.
But there are still things for which to be thankful. And that is, the opportunity to begin again.
To begin with a new day, a new time in your life and maybe a new understanding of life. Try greeting the new opportunity with no expectations. After all, when the group first began as a family nothing was written in stone. It was up to parents, family and everyone in the community, society and history to help guide. And it was up to those in charge of the family to make the decisions. Now, as adults, it is up to no one, but you. Now that’s something for which to be thankful. You.
After all, life is up to us. It is what we make of it. It is what we think of it. It’s our perception. It’s our angle. And it’s made up of our actions and reactions. Ours. It is in our attitude. Our view of life. Our view of situations. It is what makes us who we are. Good or bad and according to whom. Nevertheless, it all, including our past moments, adventures and interactions, has brought us to this here and this now and this face we see in our mirror.
And our family accepts us for who we are. No matter (within reason). And they accept us lock, stock and barrel. They may not always approve, or like or agree, but then again, neither do we. And that’s something for which to be thankful. But somehow when a family member gets mad or happy, it’s multiplied by the power of the intensity squared by itself. And the love and joy we receive or the anger and disgust we give in return is also that same formula.
Be responsible for your actions. Be accountable for your decisions. Be nice to your family. They are the only one you have, so try to appreciate them. No making wounds bleed – emotional or physical. No tattling on others if you have a problem with another family member. No ‘ganging’ up. After all, no one really knows the strength of a relationship until someone’s frayed it, so try not to be responsible for that. And just like thread, its repair will never be as strong as the original strength as when it was whole. So try not to be malicious or vindictive. Be kind. Be thoughtful.
Try to do the best you can with who you are. And try seeing others for whom they are, not for whom you think they are or were or should have been. But that’s not to excuse others if they are not recognizing you and your needs and who you are and how you act and react to what they do either. But.that’s relationships, that’s family.
Family. The recognizing and the tolerating coated with an abundance of love. Not a blind coat of love, we all have our limits. But a realistic, unconditional (with traditional perimeters) kind of love. A love that withstands time and criticism. A love intensity and a passionate dedication that never wanes . it may sway from mad to glad, but it never wanes.
Families are always there for us. In some form. In some way. We all came from a family. We all have a family. And that is absolutely something for which to be thankful.
Now what we have to ask ourselves is, have we given enough of ourselves and have we given enough to ourselves?
Not the martyr-self-sacrifice or the selfish purchase-of-a-new-cadillac-while-the-grandchildren-are-hungry-and-cold.
Moreover, the gift of independence. The giving of encouragement. The giving of inclusion and camaraderie. The giving of love. The giving of acceptance.
If you have given all that you can to yourself and others, then that is something for which to be extremely thankful. If you can give a little differently to be more understanding and to be more respectful of a family member, then be thankful that you recognized it. It may change someone’s life. For how you ‘like to give’ may not always be the same way some one ‘likes to be given’ either things or love. So look at them for who they are and for how they respond best and for what they appreciate. Your given gift will be far better received. And the thank you will be deeper on many levels.
Thankfulness is that way. It too may change someone’s moment, day, attitude.life. The simple act of giving a ‘thank you’, lends itself to happiness and a certain amount of inner joy. And in turn, a feeling of worthiness and appreciation. All of which will, just by the nature of life, spill into your days and into your living. And living in a better day and feeling the gift of giving, is living life. And that is something for which to be grateful and thankful. Giving. Thanks. Thanksgiving.
Interesting word. Meaningful Holiday.