If you are the Black Sheep of the family (the one who seems to be singled out for whatever reason), Thanksgiving can often be a tough time for you.
Family is exactly that, family. I have learned over the years that although I believe family is supposed to be the greatest friends and relationships you’ll ever have, that is not always the case.
In my memoir, Identity Crisis: Identity Christ Is: A Journey to Love I talk a lot about the dysfunctional relationships that I have long-suffered within my family unit.
Thanksgiving 2007 was the absolute best, for me. My family complained the entire way to my house and even complained while they were there. My home was big enough for everyone to fit- for the first time ever, but that wasn’t good enough. Still, they couldn’t deny the food. What I did to that Turkey would make you walk down the street slapping bystanders it was so unreal. I can still taste it. My mother and ex-fiance cooked to and, at the time that meant a lot to me.
What did not go away is the elephant in the room. You’ll have to read my book to learn about some of the things I have overcome and what I have decided to do to make sure that I maintain healthy relationships despite the agony of my dysfunctional family.
Dinner at your Family’s House
This Thanksgiving you may need some tips to handle the potential elephant in your family’s house.
“When people show you who they are, believe them.” – Maya Angelou
The above quote is a favorite because it’s so deeply simplistic. You know that Uncle Joe is a drunk, or that Lisa is going to bring her six unruly children. You know that at least one of your family members will stop by with their family out of obligation and that they’ll be some that don’t bring dishes but want to take food home.
Consider that Uncle Joe needs to be there. Talk to him in advance if he gets out-of-control and request him to be civilized (whether you’re hosting or not).
Lisa may forget something that will occupy the children’s time but you shouldn’t. The host, if you are, should have designated play areas, and rules that the children are given when they step in the door. This will help them to be conscious of their surroundings.
If you truly believe in your heart that you’re tired, and you can’t or don’t want to handle it, be the one to stop by with yourself and/or your husband/wife and children. Bring a small dish that feeds ten people, eat (or not), and leave.
Can’t afford to bring a dish?
One thing that families don’t understand sometimes is that you may not all be in the same financial place. This issue should not stop you from enjoying each other’s time. If you’re low-income, stand in a line that gives Turkeys and groceries. Fill your house, and make a dish that feeds at least Ten. On the other hand, some people are just takers and have no intention on ever being a blessing. Consider taking a dish as a peace offering.
Thanksgiving is not about giving thanks for family. Thanksgiving is about stealing land, hurting lots of people and the celebration of bullying innocent people leaving them in complete and utter devastation.
Does this sound like your house? Well, I hope not! But it’s true American History. With this in mind, you have the power and authority to create positive traditions, and to celebrate healthy relationships. Be empowered to spend time with people who value your energy and your personage in this world.
If going to your family’s house is the last thing you want to do this Thanksgiving, perhaps you could find a friend, significant other, mentor or close co-workers house to visit. Remember to bring a dish or a holiday gift like Wine or something.
If no one extends an invitation, that is by no means a reflection of you. People are in different mind-sets and understandings. Try not to take it personal. Maybe this is the year you go and spend time with the homeless, the sick at the hospital or participate in some other charitable deed. You can always cook at home and invite people to you over the weekend.
“BE INSPIRED!” Was Heavy D’s last Tweet and I submit that to you today. Be inspired, creative and gain momentum to create your own family life that is full of the power, presence and peace of God.
Alternative Thanksgiving Idea
I remember one year, I took a long bath, lit candles and spent Thanksgiving with God and a book. Choose your destiny and be unapologetic about it. If there is room for reconciliation and you desire to be connected with your family, God will work that out if that is the other party’s choice. God doesn’t bully us into relationship with him, and he certainly doesn’t do this with others.
My advice: Stay in prayer, and be at peace!
Enjoy your Thanksgiving!
-Ressurrection Graves, Author of Identity Crisis, Identity Christ Is: A Journey to Love http://www.identitycrisisbook.com