And now, a word from our producer…
Thanksgiving is here. It can—and should be—a wonderful holiday that provides a time to pause and reflect on the amazing blessings we enjoy and so often take for granted.
Whether you’re single or married, it can also quickly turn into a very stressful time filled with a cornucopia of pressures and anxiety… if you let it.
I’m reminded of a time not so long ago, when I was dating the woman of my dreams and was invited to Thanksgiving dinner with her family.
While the smile grew across my face at the prospect of drawing closer in our relationship, there was, of course, the sudden flash of terror that many experience during this season when they stop to calculate the formula for intense personal scrutiny:
Potential Spouse + Thanksgiving Dinner = Inspection + Interrogation
Was this a recipe for disaster?
To make things even more interesting, our respective families couldn’t be more different. I was from a relatively small, quiet family with relatives peppered across the Northeast. Hers? Well, I say this with great fondness, was a large, loud and ahem, passionate Italian neighborhood clan (rolling over fifty deep) that weren’t shy about expressing opinion. Think Everybody Loves Raymond meets The Brady Bunch.
Even if things went south, I thought, at least there was going to be Italian food—which just happens to be my favorite. And there was going to be lots of it. Perhaps I could make a covert exit with a 35 gallon size doggie bag.
I decided to mentally prepare. A checklist might be good for focus.
What to wear? What to say?
Employment? Career goals? How many kids do I want?
Memorize lyrics to the most popular Frank Sinatra songs. Brilliant.
Political affiliation? Religious views? Hmm, potentially divisive.
What if it gets worse? Giants or Jets? Mets or Yankees?
How do I politely decline the 3rd serving of eggplant parmesan without insulting an eager Italian mother who seems bent on making sure that the only way for me to leave is for me to be turned on my rotund side and rolled out the garage door?
Doomsday scenario: Rumor has it that potential mother-in-law and highly influential aunts have an annual pumpkin pie contest. Compulsory event. Must choose a winner. Controversial outcome guaranteed.
What if no matter what I do, they just don’t like me? It could happen.
Letting your thoughts run away with those pesky, pessimistic “What ifs” can easily take our focus off the amazing “What is.”
One of my favorite verses in the Good Book is Psalm 118:24. It says “This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.”
It’s a great reminder that whatever the circumstances, challenges or dark days we face, there is so much to be truly thankful for. Now. Thankful for what we have. Thankful for who we are, warts and all. Thankful for all the imperfect people—just like us—that God gives us the privilege of knowing and loving.
I’ve got so much to be thankful for, both large and small. We live in a country, while far from utopia, where I’m free to express my opinion, practice my faith and make decisions I believe will be in the best interest of my family.
I’m thankful for the opportunity to share Old Fashioned with audiences across the country who are already responding to the film’s hopeful depiction of what true love can be.
I’m truly grateful for a nation founded on free speech where we can agree to disagree. A land where Fifty Shades of Grey and Old Fashioned—two movies offering drastically different perspectives on love, romance and respect—can play side by side at the same cinema, leaving audiences the opportunity to make a choice.
In any event, back to my story… so, just how did that Italian Thanksgiving turn out?
You’ll have to ask that beautiful woman of my dreams who’s been my wife for over twenty years.
Truly, the more we focus on our blessings and the many things we have to be thankful for, the less room we have for the fear and anxiety that often cripple us. Instead of being bound by negativity, we discover the beauty and potential in the situations and people placed in our lives.
An “old fashioned” Happy Thanksgiving to one and all!
– Nathan Nazario