The Historic Power of Thanks

But I’m also thankful for having been taught the true definition of thankfulness: to be glad every single day just because things are, and because you are there with them.

Melanie Deziel – Director of Creative Strategy | Time Magazine

After several, treacherous months of sickness and death, hope filled the pilgrims. Following the first plentiful corn harvest, settlers and natives celebrated with a three-day feast. You and I know Thanksgiving as turkey and ham. They knew Thanksgiving as lobster, seal, and swan. And yet, there is more to be said about this gathering than food.

Are you thankful?


One must acknowledge that, although thankfulness permeates the air today, it is not the only emotion felt. In fact, I would put money on the idea that it was not the only emotion experienced hundreds of years ago when history was taking place. People still feel things contrary to what is scheduled to be felt.

How do you remain thankful when all you feel is grief? How did the early natives and pilgrims feast on hope after severe tragedy?

Well, that is a good question–one without a cookie-cutter answer.

You see, grief can be quite beautiful. The ability to feel is powerful, strong, and an honor; however, there is an emotion both joy and grief can simultaneously submit to. Its name is “thankfulness.”

Are you thankful?


Thankfulness wages war against everything that is not. When you choose thankfulness, you deliberately fight against all emotions that might contradict. Is it possible that thankfulness could wage a silent war? Is it possible that the posture of your heart could be the single, most powerful position one takes?

According to National Geographic, the Pilgrims did not celebrate Thanksgiving as religiously as some Americans do today. The celebration looked a lot like an English harvest festival with drinking and games after the labor of yielding the crops was finished. They sat on the ground by fires gathering food with their fingers because forks had not arrived yet. It was not about everything always being good, it was about the goodness experienced in that moment. They chose thanksgiving.


Are you thankful?

Melanie Deziel was right. Things are, and if we choose, we are there with them. Goodness is, and we are there with it. Thankfulness is, and we are there with it.

And at the end of it all, let us choose the goodness that is in this moment.

And at the end of it all, let them say, “oh, they were the thankful ones.”

*Some Native Americans and others take issue with how the Thanksgiving story is presented to the American public, and especially to schoolchildren. In their view, the traditional narrative paints a deceptively sunny portrait of relations between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag people, masking the long and bloody history of conflict between Native Americans and European settlers that resulted in the deaths of millions. We are in no way trying to perpetuate this narrative.


Isaac Pirk is a junior Marketing major at North Central University. As the 2017 Marketing Director on NCU's Enactus board, he has a passion to see others grow and flourish. 

Tyler Hanna