Turkey Day Challenge

Lisa Hamilton

It’s that day again.  Thanksgiving….the day we love to hate, yet hate that we still love the people that drive us crazy. Rather than reminiscing about the pumpkin pie yet to be eaten, we are remembering who it is we will be eating with.

Some of us are flat out fed up before we even start eating.
“She still has never apologized for that!   What does she think I am chopped liver!” (forgive the pun on words)

And so with all this swirling in my head, I offer a Turkey Day challenge:
To let go, laugh and sit next to the people,  people that frankly you can’t stand.

We can do this…like a secret pact.  Here’s my recipe:


2 cups of suck it up
1 cup of amnesia
3 cups of memories of all the great times in the past
3/4 cups bite your tongue
1 tablespoons of Why not?  try this for one day
1 pound of forgiveness
2 pounds of laughter, if not real, may substitute fake (no one will know the difference)

Mix ingredients in one big bowl. Beat fast and furious until all the anger and resentment surface to the top.Wait for one big sigh of relief, then stop. Sprinkle with I’m ready to let it go.  Let the tears rise to the top, and skim off the disappointment that things did not turn out the way you imagined. Set it aside and detach from expectation.

Now stir in hope of a different and better future.  Add excitement that all things work for good in the end.  And if it’s not good now…then it’s not the end.

Spread forgiveness evenly over the past, in a nonstick pan so it won’t stick to the future when taking it out.

Bake at 450 degrees until golden brown.  Take out of the oven, removing all the burned edges of the past, throwing it in the trash where it belongs, and sprinkle with love.

Cut into pieces and serve to those special relatives with a smile that feels or at least looks genuine. Again if not real… fake it until you make it, they’ll never know the difference! That alone is grin worthy.


Okay, all kidding aside, I do think about the turkey, poor guy, who gave up his life so we could all be united in one accord around the table, thanking God for a free country to worship in the land of opportunity with family (come on now, didn’t you just finish making your pie?

Truth is we need two kinds of people in our life: the ones that love us and the ones that hate us.  The ones that love us bring out the best in us.  It’s as if every cell in our body is vibrantly alive turning our previously grey world into a world full of color, and sounds and smells we never noticed before.  Love is home and there is no place like it.

Yet it is the people that hate us and break us that truly teach us to love, even to honor the very ones that hurt us choosing forgiveness rather than retaliation.  Ironically, it is in our hardest relationships that we become Christlike, trading in a self-centered love, for a love that sacrifices even unto death.

Our hard relationships are here to teach us how to love.

I think about the first Thanksgiving back in the 1600’s, and the Wampanoag Indians who opened their land to the new intruders, teaching them to fish and grow corn to stay alive.  What must it have taken, to see a new people colonize the very land that was yours alone for 12,000 years, not only to share, but to sacrifice for a stranger’s survival.

It was the day before the first Thanksgiving feast that the Indians heard four gunshots.  Assuming it was betrayal, and that the English were preparing for war, the Wampanoag leader came to confront the Pilgrims, only to learn that it wasn’t betrayal at all.  They were hunting for game to give back to friends in a foreign land who saved their life.

This, the story of the first thanksgiving, a story of unselfish sharing, sacrifice, misunderstood betrayal, reconciliation, and ultimately a bond that would last a lifetime.

Isn’t this the same story of our own life? Our own families? In all the heartache, and hurt feelings, there is a bond that somehow never breaks.

So, this is our Turkey Day challenge.  Approach this day with a new heart.  See if you can turn some relationships around, and perhaps, what you have thought was betrayal, could have been a longtime misunderstanding.

Write us back with your real stories addressed to: Turkey Day Challenge, telling us your how this year was different. ( Hey, we’re in this thing together)

And in so doing, you can genuinely smile, wholeheartedly laugh, and open your heart with ultimate joy that this turkey, this year, did not die in vain.

Pie anyone?

About Lisa Hamilton

Lisa Hamilton is a freelance writer for the Los Angeles Times newspaper, as well as a respected speaker. She recently published her humorous book Unstick Your Stuck Life.