Stone Soup for Thanksgiving
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Guest Post by Malana Ashlie
About 10 years ago, I stepped outside conventional American thinking to look at our holidays as they might appear to people outside our culture; Thanksgiving was one of the first. As much as I love the aroma of roasting turkey and pumpkin pie, a part of me is appalled by the mass slaughter and gluttony that a day created for giving thanks has become. I decided NOT to support that aspect of it anymore. I wanted to focus only on the gratitude portion.
My first thought was to dedicate the day for fasting. The idea of showing gratitude for my health by giving my digestion a 1-day vacation felt right. The food I would have eaten, or the money saved, could go to families less fortunate. However, after years of hosting dinners at my home I found it difficult to retrain friends and relatives that expected to enjoy the old traditions.
Once we moved to Central America, I thought it would be easier to honor my personal intent. Many of our local Spanish neighbors had family living in the U.S. and their curiosity about the holiday led me to preparing the normal feast, again. As I placed food, sufficient to feed their families for a month, on the table before them their eyes reinforced what my heart was telling me. I did not want to do this again. So as the next Thanksgiving approached, I announced to my husband that he was on his own for the day. My announcement promoted him to accept an invitation from missionaries on the beach where we would be having a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. I stood there dazed, wondering if I would ever be strong enough to follow my heart on this subject.
The perfect solution came during the feast of Thanks with the missionaries. An exhausted woman shared that she and one employee prepared the entire meal of turkey, ham and beef. When I asked why she had not allowed any of us to bring a dish, she responded that the poor could not afford to bring so she preferred no one did. Those words triggered the memory of a story I had learned years ago; the story of STONE SOUP.
The story tells of a hungry young traveler who happens upon a small rural village. He goes door-to-door asking for food in exchange for work, but always the doors are slammed in his face. The young man resorts to trickery, promising to cook a pot of stone soup for the village if they lend him a cauldron. By the end of the day, every villager has contributed something toward making a huge pot of soup and they all sit and share together. The traveler’s deception becomes a lesson in community and oneness.
Here was the true essence of Thanksgiving with the attitude of sharing that I felt the day should have. The next year I wrote out invitations for my neighbors and found help to translate them into Spanish. They and their families were invited to share Stone Soup. The invitation requested each family bring an item for the soup the day before. Meanwhile, I went to the beach to find the perfect stone.
Over fifty people ate soup that Thanksgiving day. There was a mix of Spanish neighbors, volunteers from around the globe with a sprinkling of missionaries. It was such a great event that we have repeated it every year since. Before the food is blessed and we eat, someone tells the Stone Soup story in Spanish and English so the message of gratitude, sharing and oneness is never forgotten.
Malana Ashlie, author of the award-winning Gringos in Paradise: Our Honduras Odyssey (April 2007) and the newly published The Threaded Gem Adventure, lives on the Caribbean Coast of Honduras in Central America.
Along with her degrees in holistic healing and metaphysics, her education includes tutoring from traditional elders of the Mayan and Hawaiian cultures, as well as teachers of sacred traditions of the First Nations. She writes books and articles about restoring balance and connection with the Earth and using nutrition for healing. Malana practices her theories of nutrition on her two pet rabbits, dog, and cat as well as her husband and neighbors.
Malana also has a Single Mother’s Hand-Up Project that helps create strong home based businesses for women in her area who have been deserted by their husbands.
You can connect with her via her Website: http://www.wisdompathway.com/desk.htm
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