“That’s not my Thanksgiving story,” Sam confided as we watched the joyous reunions of families with kids returning from college.
“I came home from college to find my room now had a crib with a new baby. My bed had been moved to the unfinished basement. The message was clear. I never came back, and my mom was fine with that. She moved on.”
His heartbreaking story stands in stark contrast to his life today. He’s an amazing guy with a cool wife, interesting and well-adjusted kids, and a successful business.
“To give thanks in solitude is enough. Thanksgiving has wings and goes where it must go. Your prayer knows much more about it than you do.”~ Victor Hugo
His sad Thanksgiving story reads differently when you ask him for the other side. That narrative is a story of self-reliance, triumph, and gutsy determination. From that lens, his anger and resentment fueled his passion to build a great family and meaningful friendships. I don’t know his mom’s story, but it’s complex too. Narratives find gratitude in the midst of pain.
The True Story of Thanksgiving
All versions are true. All real. All powerful. We all have Thanksgiving chapters we would rather have skipped. Stories of pain. Stories of building fortitude.
- after the diagnosis
- during the layoff
- in Iraq
- of the accident
- when you’re just not breaking through
- our kids were in trouble
Those stories have multiple narrations. It’s hard to feel the growing, when the growing is tough. But it’s there. Every member of your team has stories too, and interpretations.
I wish for you a Thanksgiving filled with gratitude in the midst of your complicated story. May your leadership have the patience to build on great stories. As you turn the page, consider the best narration for all involved.