Not everyone spending Thanksgiving alone wants to be pitied. Sometimes it's a conscious choice, made from a history of bad experiences beyond ones control.
I’m so thankful for my son and daughter who totally understand and accept my need to spend holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas alone. After years of hurtful ridicule from my former in-laws, stating I have no business celebrating those holidays because I’m a Humanist, not a Christian, I’m pretty much scarred for life from ever wanting to celebrate those holidays, even though I have been divorced from that side of the family for years.
After years of being excluded from celebrating holidays with my in-laws, being forced to stay home alone, chastised for my non-belief, I told myself that’s what I would prefer anyway, and I’m pretty convincing, since I can’t seem to bring myself to want to celebrate with anyone anymore. Happy to spend these days by myself, doing as I please and not needing to participate in the stress of the holidays.
Am I thankful? Yes, but not to a supernatural deity. My circumstances are the result of human choices, diligence, hard work, fulfilling responsibilities, and were built upon the generations of sacrifice and the following of dreams. I am fully cognizant of the fact my current happy life is resting on a long history of lives before me, and the lives of those in the present, interacting. I prefer to honor that fact.
Even though I’m far removed from the stress of trying to please those small minded ex-relatives who judged everything from my limited cooking talents to my decision not to baptize my children, and my wish to thank the farmers, truck drivers, grocery store employees and the cooks and good company who contributed to the Thanksgiving feast, rather than a supernatural deity for the bounty, the holidays I enjoyed as a kid are forever marked as dark days for me.
It’s sad how the piety of the religionists can still thwart the happiness of fair-minded individuals who simply want to celebrate in their own way, just because they are (or were) in the majority and feel they can afford to be mean spirited to non-believers.
My hope is that someday those religious zealots will realize how wrong they were and will begin to recognize the worth of those of other faiths, whether that is faith in a different prophet than theirs or simply faith in the natural world and humanity’s role in it to create the harmony we need to co-exist happily. I do have faith in humanity, though it is a struggle sometimes.