For many, Thanksgiving is a time to gather around the kitchen table with family and friends, enjoying good food and good company. For others, Thanksgiving is about more than family: it’s about giving thanks and reflecting on history to appreciate what we know and love today.For people like Mellissa Riddle, Thanksgiving isn’t just applicable to the United States. Riddle has spent Thanksgiving abroad, away from her family for the past 10-years. On her Thanksgiving journey, Riddle has shared turkey sandwiches at her start-up Kintamanti in Bali; eaten Thanksgiving dinner in Phoenix with artists, philosophers, and Shamans; volunteered in Boston and Denver soup kitchens, listening to the stories of those gathering around for the meal; hosted an international Parisian group of 13; and hosted a Thanksgiving in the UAE, now preparing for a second time. Thanksgiving for many Americans living abroad, like Riddle, has become a personalized tradition, one in which she can spread her love and American heritage with people from around the world.
annstreetstudio, October Magic
To Mellissa Riddle, Thanksgiving is really about the Harvest Festival, remembering and giving thanks to the community that came before us. It’s also more than just a ‘thank you’ for the people in our lives today. It’s a time to acknowledge history and remind ourselves that sure, humans can be wicked, but also compassionate and kind.
The lesson to Mellissa Riddle is to go beyond community, resting upon the universal notion that we are all human, and therefore all connected.
Giving thanks is more than just uttering the words; it’s a way of life. To give thanks is to be filled with gratitude to the heart’s core, motivated to help others and share that appreciation with as many people as possible. The inmost essence of man is to connect with one another and lift each other up whenever possible. Thanksgiving is a time when this mentality should be prioritized above all else.
So, although we remember the lives lost as a result of the founding of Thanksgiving, for Mellissa Riddle, it’s a time to reinforce generosity, selflessness, and gratitude for what we have, for how far we have come and for the grand experiences ahead.