Thanksgiving, a Feast of a Holiday!!!

We are ready to travel to Houston to celebrate Thanksgiving with our children. Cannot wait!!! Thanksgiving is the holiday the can be celebrated by anyone and everyone, the holiday that has no religious affiliation, no symbols that need to be displayed, no commercial value (unless you count supermarkets and food stores). There are no presents to buy, decorations to drag out and arranged, no repetitive songs playing at all hours, no frantic countdown. I know it is not as popular around the world, but it should be. We all have something to be thankful for, regardless of where we live or who we worship or who we are. Thankfulness is universal.

It is really unimportant where or why this holiday began. Most people hardly remember those first celebrants. Pilgrims and Native Americans are really an afterthought for many. On the other hand, the dinner, the togetherness and the family around the table is all important. Why, we should ask? I find it a simple reason: preparing food, cooking together have always been bonding experiences. We all understand the power of a meal: from the planning of the menu, the gathering of the food stuff, the cooking, the camaraderie around the kitchen to the result of a delicious feast to share with our loved ones. Who doesn’t understand the power of food?

It is food that brings us together, there is no doubts in my mind. Once all the preparation is done, once we sit at the table and look around with gratitude, it is then that we realized how much we have to be thankful for. Who would have thought? The simple act of preparing and sharing this feast is what makes this holiday so perfect.

This is why it’s my favorite holiday, even if I am not a great cook. I enjoy cooking for Thanksgiving!!! Life rumbles along, dispensing good and not so good things. We tend to dwell on the not so good, we complain and feel sorry for ourselves. All along we tend to ignore the small things, the ones that bring us joy: the ones we should be thankful for. This day reminds us, puts things into perspective, gives us the opportunity to celebrate all the good that we have in our lives.

Phot by: Olga Vasilkova/Dreamtime

 

Lessons Learned and Facebook

In this time and age, I would be hard pressed to name a family member or friend that doesn’t have a Facebook account. My husband doesn’t count. Technology is not his thing and sharing personal information and opinions is not his thing either. Other than him, I cannot mention anyone else off the top of my head!!!

When about 11 years ago, my daughter convinced me to give this new Social Media outlet a try, I would have sworn it was not going to last. Well, that is how much I know. I also refused to even consider investing in it.  So much for my powers of observation. Not only is Facebook thriving, it is so influential that it will continue to be for the foreseeable future. Which proves again, what do I know???

I will be remiss not to point out that most of the time I enjoy what comes and goes and passes for information, the personal opinions, the photos of family and friends that live far and wide. The pages that post uplifting messages that somehow fit a mood, a feeling, a moment. It can be fun and informative.

Unfortunately, as the mood in the world has turn to hate and division and more and more people feel free to express those feelings, Facebook has turned into a minefield. You need to be very careful what you say and pay attention to the smallest of details when expressing an opinion, talking about your feelings on a subject or just wishing everyone a Merry Christmas, Happy Thanksgiving or Happy Easter. What pictures you want to share, what you would anyone thinks about a page you like, the quote you posted or the people you admire.

Never mind the kind of news sites you prefer, the people you are voting for or anything about a controversial public figure. Everything is black and white and you must be very careful. How exhausting!!! It seems we not only have the government censoring what we can and cannot see, write or express….now everyone you have friended on Facebook feels they should do it too.

I am not even going to mention civil discourse (a very much dead concept at the moment), or differences of opinion, I am talking about plain bullying and plain intimidation if you as much as express the notion that things can and do have two or three sides to them. “Mine, yours and the truth in the middle” is what I believe. Apparently I belong to a growing group that has learned the hard way to keep their opinions to themselves. How very sad…..it seems the only freedom of expression we are allowed is the one our critics spouse.  Both sides of any issue are guilty of this.

So, back to the lessons I have learned on Facebook. At the beginning, I joked about the four wonderful concepts that this Social Media community has taught me were: Ignore, Remove, Delete and Unsubscribe. We were provided with such choices and with cute little signs for : Like, Love, Surprise, Sadness, Anger. Seemed simple enough, not really anymore, things are now very angry, very insulting, sometimes even dangerous.

If we only want to see and want to hear what we believe, we are not improving communication among our friends and family, or the community in general. If only our opinion is true, if we only hear what we want to hear, if we only engage with people who agree with us, we are bullying everyone else into falling in line or just pack up and leave. A very sad state of affairs, especially when it is not doing any good to society as a whole.

I write a blog about things I have learned and things I am still learning, Facebook provides a wonderful platform for this.  My hope is that out there someone agrees with me and will share my posts. Never my intention to impose or to think I know better. I am not holding my breath, but will continue to do what I think is right. It gives me pleasure.

Life is short. Everyday there are new challenges we must face, new sorrows to deal with, but also new happiness to share, new experiences we want to talk about. I want to feel comfortable with my friends and family, so I can do just that. Having a Facebook account has taught me many things, the ones I mentioned here are not the best ones. Fortunately, I hold hope that the good things about this site will eventually win the day.

P.S. You have to have some rain to enjoy the rainbow: photo by my niece Ana Gregoria