Thanksgiving: No one is an island

I used to think I could live as an individual and be wholly responsible for who I was, who I am and who I will be.

Anastasia Bartlett

As a child, I don’t recall Thanksgiving being overly special, we just ate more. At school, the walls displayed rainbow-tailed turkeys, black hats, silver buckles, and a regular cornucopia of paper fruits and vegetables to which we added black cats and jack ‘o lanterns a week later (I was thankful for Halloween, especially the candy).

We learned about American pilgrims, I think, because they had such a defining one-time back story for their Thanksgiving. It wasn’t until I was older, that I discovered the rich history of Canadian Thanksgiving.

In 1578, Martin Frobisher and his crew celebrated a thanksgiving service to God for bringing them home after another failed attempt to discover the Northwest Passage.

In 1604 Samuel de Champlain and the Order of Good Cheer regularly thanked God for surviving another Canadian winter.

National Thanksgiving celebrations in Canada commemorated many things; the end of wars, recovery of a monarch and of course, the harvest. It wasn’t until 1957 that a fixed day of Thanksgiving was set; the second Monday in October.

Canadian Thanksgiving evolved out of religious traditions. Giving thanks to God is something the churches still do.

For instance, every Sunday in the Orthodox church we celebrate the Eucharist, which literally means ‘Thanksgiving’. Every Sunday, we thank God for Christ’s resurrection, an event which reunites us with God and with each other. Every Sunday, as I look around the sanctuary, I know each and every person there is a valuable member of the Christ’s resurrected body; the church. Since I am also a member, every person, every part of Christ’s body has directly influenced me in some manner. As I pondered this, I realized, it wasn’t just the church but every single person with whom I’ve had any type of contact have all helped shape me into who I am today. If nothing else, the Orthodox Church has taught me the value of community.

I used to think I could live as an individual and be wholly responsible for who I was, who I am and who I will be. I realize now, I am not an isolated individual. Every person with whom I have come into contact has infected me with a portion of who they are while, I, in turn, have infected them with me. I am, in some way, connected to every single person on this planet whether for good or for ill.

If I had ever fulfilled my childhood dream of becoming a hermit with no contact with any other person whatsoever, I never would have grown as much I have now. If somehow, I could have eliminated all books, radio, TV, internet, shopping for supplies or anything made by someone else like clothing, cookware, tools, I would have stagnated.

Every person around me gives me a reason to be thankful, not just once a year but every day, every hour, every minute, every second.

We have shaped and influenced each other teaching us about ourselves and that is something to give thanks for.

Thanks for my parents who gave me birth and looked after me and taught me how to think.

Thanks for my younger sisters who made my anger visible.

Thanks for all the friends and adversaries I had growing up who taught me loyalty, frustration and forgiveness.

Thanks for the sexist boss who angered me to no end, but taught me to trust myself.

Thanks for the telemarketer who reveals the thin veneer of patience over my irritation.

Thanks for the stranger who smiles at me on the street, lifting my spirits a little.

Thanks for the husband who, more than anyone shows me who I am yet still loves me despite it all.

Thanks for the children who took the knowledge I gave them, built on it and in turn, teach me.

This weekend, I will look around the table and be thankful for every person there. I will be thankful for those thousands of miles away and those who have fallen asleep. I will try to hug someone every day, to phone someone weekly and to pray always. To quote that great sea-going philosopher; “I yam what I yam” because of them and for that I am thankful.

Anastasia Bartlett is an Orthodox Christian attending St. Aidan’s in Cranbrook

Just Posted

The latest EKASS survey confirms a steady decline in substance use among EK youth over the years. (image compilation via Pixabay)
Latest survey shows steady decline in adolescent substance use over the years

Starting in 2002, the survey has been conducted every two years to monitor changes in substance use patterns, attitudes and behaviors amongst East Kootenay youth.

The Aquatic Centre at Western Financial Place.
Cranbrook Aquatic Center to close temporarily

The annual shutdown of the Aquatic Center at Western Financial Place will begin earlier than scheduled this year and does not have a defined end date at this time.

Residents line up outside the Vernon Recreation Complex for their COVID-19 vaccine Saturday, June 5. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
No appointments necessary for first dose COVID-19 vaccine: Interior Health

People can just show up at clinics, register on the spot and get the shot

1914
It happened this week in 1914

June 6 -12: Compiled by Dave Humphrey from the archived newspapers held at the Cranbrook History Centre and Archives

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry on Thursday, June 10, mentioned Grand Forks among two other COVID “hot spots” in B.C. Photo: Screenshot - YouTube COVID-19 BC Update, June 10, 2021
PHO Henry says West Kootenay city is a COVID ‘hot spot’ in B.C.

There are 11 cases of COVID-19 in the Grand Forks local health area, according the BC CDC

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Most Read