Lake Oconee Breeze

Mind Your Health

November 26, 2012

What does Thanksgiving mean for you this year?

LAKE OCONEE — We celebrate the national holiday of Thanksgiving this week. Thanks giving. Giving thanks. Are you thankful? Are you giving thanks to anyone? I invite you to use this column as an opportunity to reflect on what this holiday means to you.

Thanksgiving is different than other holidays. It is not about gift giving, Easter eggs, patriotism or religious practices. It is about uniting, coming together.

Thanksgiving is about family. No other holiday brings family together in quite the same way. Airlines and highways are crowded as family members assemble. It is not just about that tasty turkey!

Walk down memory lane for a moment. What was Thanksgiving like in your family when you were growing up? What was your family like? Extended family? What kind of family do you have now? What people are considered “family” for you? How will you celebrate, or just get through, Thanksgiving this year?

As we grow older family members go off in various directions, physically and emotionally, for different reasons. Some remain close, others have little connection. There are reasons.

Dysfunctional families, divorces and deaths have left people bereft of available family members. You may be glad some are gone, others are mourned. John Bradshaw, a noted family psychologist, has written about “family of origin” and “family of choice.” For those who do not have a healthy connection with their biological and marital related family, they can create/choose a different kind of “family.” These family members may come from church, synagogue, recovery community/group, neighborhood or “Cheers” tavern.

Thanksgiving can be a very lonely day for some if there is no “family” present for connection. If you are in a position to invite such a person into your gathering, please do so. Or, perhaps, go to a place that is serving turkey to the homeless or other less fortunate people.

Hopefully this Thanksgiving will be special as you are able to participate in a loving and welcoming “family” of one sort or another – and that you are giving thanks for that. If not this year, perhaps you can create a better “family” to share in next year.

Happy Thanksgiving all!

P.S. I give thanks to you for reading my articles and giving me the positive feedback you so generously share.

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