Some of My Favorite Pilgrims are Indians

A few years ago I was in London during Thanksgiving. Or as it’s known there, Thursday. Having planned ahead, my American friends and I were equipped with a large candle in the shape of a turkey. And we placed it in the center of the table at the Indian restaurant we picked for the big dinner.

Our waiter approached with a smile, and with that lovely, lyrical East Indian accent, looked at our candle and asked, “What is the peacock for?” “It’s not a peacock,” I think I sounded defensive, “It’s a turkey.” Unfazed, eyebrows still up, he continued, “What is the turkey for?”

We explained Thanksgiving to him and found an immediate ally who was clearly well-acquainted with the concept, and helped us to create an evening I’ll never forget.

Since that Thanksgiving, I have been delighted to cross paths with more and more East Indians, most of whom have come to my homeland as pilgrims. I respect that, like all pilgrims, “they are people journeying in a foreign land.” But what I love and am grateful for this Thanksgiving is that each one of these people makes me, and America, better.

What I see in people like Nick and Priya and Astha are some of the virtues and values I admire most: Bravery, sweet humor, ambition, balance, social intelligence, kindness and clarity. (I know there are probably annoying Indians, I just haven’t met any yet.)

In other words, having each one of these Indians in my life makes me a better pilgrim too. I loved the further definition of “pilgrim” I’ve placed below, and I hope it challenges and inspires you too this Thanksgiving Week.

        “To journey without being changed is to be a nomad.

        To change without journeying is to be a chameleon.

        To journey and be transformed by the journey is to be a pilgrim.”

Mark Nepo

About SeattleCoach

I'm a leadership coach for talented people and their systems. And I train some of them to be coaches. Working with me, you can count on creativity, curiosity, humor, optimism and challenge. Our key ingredients are your growing awareness, your willingness to try things, and our relationship.
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