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November is a month chock-full of significance, holidays and celebrations; the month boasts Veterans Day, All Saints Day, and Sadie Hawkins Day; it’s also Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, National Adoption Month and National Diabetes Month. In the “I never knew there was such a thing” category, November is also home to Banana Pudding Lovers Month, International Tongue Twister Day and National Men Make Dinner Day. Who knew? November is also the month of my favorite holiday of all: Thanksgiving.
About the origins of Thanksgiving there is much controversy; there are those who state that the folklore of the pilgrims and Native Americans joining together to eat are false. There are still others who insist that rather than a meal of turkey, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie; the meal was more likely seal, lobster and swans (that’s from the History Channel no less). Regardless of what the true origins of the holiday are, there’s no denying that what the holiday has evolved into is truly special.
Several years back at a Thanksgiving Dinner the table grew silent as everyone began enjoying the bounty of the meal. Someone suggested that we each take a moment and share something for which we were grateful. The first couple of answers were light and funny: “I’m grateful for this dinner,” or “The thing I’m most thankful for is that someone else is doing the dishes!” Gradually the conversation became meaningful and even profound as people looked within and candidly opened up. A dear friend who had been dealing with a health challenge said, “I’m thankful for the breast cancer. It’s the best thing that ever happened to me.” With her willingness to be vulnerable in that way the conversation soon became one of the most magnificent experiences in my life as everyone soon began sharing themselves in an equally authentic way. I was given the opportunity to know the guests in a way I never had previously, and some of these people were my very own family and oldest friends.
Since then I’ve made the “I’m thankful for…” conversation a holiday tradition. It’s not to say that the typical pressures of the holiday don’t exist, or that the “traditional” family blow-ups never occur; it’s just that what the “I’m thankful for…” conversation provides is a much larger context to hold the holiday inside of. Everything else seems to pale in comparison to that conversation—a conversation about that which matters most in life.
I invite you to have an “I’m thankful for…” conversation this Thanksgiving, whether you do it alone or with others. Most of all, I wish for you the gift of recognizing all that already exists in your life for which you can be thankful.
Joel J. Loquvam
Attorney At Law
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