Now is the time of year everyone posts their “I’m thankful” list on Facebook. Sometimes it can feel like a boast list.
I’m thankful my marriage is so perfect (unlike your train wreck). I’m thankful my child learned how to read by 3 (unlike your dumb kid). I’m thankful I don’t have fertility issues (unlike you). Or in the reverse, I’m thankful I don’t have a million runny-nosed kids to chase since I actually know how to use birth control (unlike you). I’m thankful my teen didn’t just get his fifth tattoo and a nose ring (unlike yours.)
What’s the point of thankfulness? Is it essentially a boast list lining up your pros against everyone else’s cons so you can feel good about your life? As an American, I have the advantage in pro/con list style thankfulness since America is one of the most affluent and free countries in the world.
But I don’t think that’s what thankfulness is. Over 3,000 years ago, the Psalmist said in Psalm 50:14a, “Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God . . .” In modern times, research studies have shown that an attitude of thankfulness helps those struggling with depression to regain good mental health.
As a mental health counselor, I know that mental health isn’t just an issue that plagues the extreme edge of society. Just like we all have physical ailments, all of us have aspects of our mental health that is stronger or weaker. Thankfulness helps us with our mental health. Thankfulness helps us. Comparing to others in pro/con list style doesn’t.
So this Thanksgiving, don’t just think about what you’re thankful for. Think about why you’re thankful for it. Are you thankful because you have something no one else has? Or are you thankful because you want to be a content, happy person.
Speaking of comparing to others, my Thanksgiving recipes are a sloppy mess. 😉 A pinch of this, a pinch of that, and cook long enough that it looks right. My husband is always asking, “Why don’t you set a timer on your food?” Because I . . . am gourmet? 🙂 Not really.
So here’s my sloppy Thanksgiving recipe. Cranberry applesauce. It’s absolutely delicious and so much better than the canned stuff.
1 bag of cranberries
A saucepan full of apples (more apples make it less red; less apples makes it tarter).
Sugar to taste
Boil apples and cranberries until cranberries float to top and apples are very soft. Using a foodmill that removes skins and seeds, (I bought mine for 2 bucks at the thrift store. You can also get awesome $300 versions that don’t necessitate wrist-burning cranking), crank all the cranberries and apples and some of the liquid through the food mill. Add sugar to taste. (Note: The cranberry-apple sauce will thicken in the refrigerator.) You can serve with whip cream and walnuts if desired.