Mythic Gratitude

Thursday is thanksgiving in America. We tell each other the story of how the pilgrims came over from England to find religious freedom, and how so many died but they made friends with the native people who were here. Then they figured out how to have a harvest.

Then in November, they celebrated and were thankful with each other.

Is it true?

Well, it’s not entirely true. It’s certainly not the whole story.

The whole story is almost impossible to get. And I don’t mean that just for the pilgrims.

If I want the whole story, I have to pay attention while it’s happening. Each moment. But I do now have omnipresence and omni attention. I am mostly distracted and thinking about other stuff while my life is happening.

How aware am I of what the whole story of even my own life?

Many years ago, the historians of America decided to tell all the school children the story of the pilgrims and the first thanksgiving.

This decision reminds me of the Aeniad, which was sponsored by Augustus Caesar in the last few years BC.

Augustus wanted a good story that told his people what they needed to hear, a story that told them who they were and where they came from.

It was loosely based on facts they already knew. There was a guy named Aeneas in the Iliad.

But the part where he escaped and founded Rome? maybe. Could have been.

So Virgil put all the pieces together so the Romans could feel good about themselves.

There is no doubt that the historians who repurposed the first thanksgiving story used the Aeniad as inspiration.

How much of the virtuous kindly pilgrim story is true?

Some part. And even if it’s a very small part, it’s a nice thing to hold up as an example.

Let’s be thankful for where we are now, and leave behind the struggles of the past. Let’s make alliances and friends with people around us.

Let’s feast and be happy. Right here. Right now.

I’m very thankful for this moment. And all it contains.