If this year’s United States of America were a couple, November would be the month it decided to break up and then two weeks later, get back together. Today—Thanksgiving—is the day it attempts to make up.

In case you forgot, or missed all the articles and tweets clogging up your newsfeed, just 16 days ago the next president of the U.S. was elected. Since then, there have been protests and celebrations, tears of joy and of frustration. For some, President-elect Donald Trump has delivered a ray of hope; for others, he's sent a storm of despair. The nation is divided on the forecast.

Therefore, it appears almost fortuitous that Thanksgiving arrives so swiftly after Election Day. It seems the universe wishes to tell us something by placing these two very American yet distinctly opposite events so close together on the calendar. Every four years, the Tuesday following the first Monday in November cracks a gigantic schism between Americans, forcing them to take sides and turn against one another. Shortly afterwards, on this, the fourth Thursday in November, a holiday with a completely different sentiment causes Americans to gather with families and friends, to express their gratitude in life.

That sounds far from coincidental, don't you think? That’s what I thought when I initially made the comparison, so I researched to see if the days were purposely placed in the same month; nothing significant came up. I suppose, then, that it’s just a stroke of fate. Yet, I believe that this coincidence, which is something that many find unfortunate, is actually a blessing in disguise for the American people.

Families, from New York’s Park Avenue to rural Appalachia, snow-trodden Alaska to palm-lined Florida, all join their loved ones to share a meal on Thanksgiving. Catholics and Jews, Muslims and Atheists share this day, all eating the same foods: roast turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce and pumpkin and apple pies. When you sit at the dining room table and pour from a decanter of gravy, you know that in a far off region of the country, another American—with a completely different ethnicity, political affiliation and station in life—is performing that exact same action, simultaneously. It’s as if the entire country were put under a spell. It’s also weirdly spiritual that so soon after one of the most divisive elections in our history—one in which hate has spewed from every direction—Americans will all sit and eat the same meal, at the same time, as if they were all together, making peace.

At the end of the day, we are all Americans; we want what is best for our country. Yes, we may differ from one another in the ways we believe our country should improve but the crucial thing is we all want it to improve. And the majority of us, no matter how we voted, are good people.

I recently read something by the writer Elizabeth Gilbert, about how, as a staunch Democrat, it was inconvenient for her to know and love three Trump supporters—whom she knew were kind, warm-hearted people—because that meant she could not automatically write off all Trump supporters as hateful. She wrote, “Nothing is more comfortable and soothing than dividing the world into good and evil. It's tidy. It's also a satisfying way to express your own rage and anger and discomfort and frustration: I HATE YOU. YOU HAVE HURT ME. I WILL THROW YOU AWAY NOW.” Yet, she finished her piece with the conclusion that knowing those three people was actually a gift—I’m guessing because it forced her to challenge the way she viewed and categorized the world.

Many people this year—regardless of their political party—wish they could skip Thanksgiving because it is inconvenient and awkward to eat dinner with people whom you love but know voted for policies you cannot fathom. But, if you are lucky enough—yes, lucky enough—to sit at a table with such diverse ideals, than like Elizabeth Gilbert, you ought to view that dinner as a gift. It is a gift because some people come from families where everyone voted for the same candidate. The members of those families are at a disadvantage because they will praise each other’s beliefs and condemn the other side, simply reaffirming for themselves that they are right and the other side is wrong. Which, in turn, means they probably believe that the opposing party is full of evil people; that’s a depressing outlook. So, if you are that somebody who comes from a politically assorted family, be thankful because those differing opinions humanize the other side for you.

Even though I’m in Madrid, I can guarantee you that not everyone in my family voted the same way; that’s going to be apparent as they slice the turkey today. According to a disapproving cousin, one uncle plans to bake a big, red cake shaped like a “T” for “Thanksgiving.” (I’m sure that’s what the big, red “T” stands for.) Yet, despite the mixture of Clinton and Trump supporters in my family, I know that at the end of tonight, as the big, red “T” for “Thanksgiving” cake is served, everyone will laugh as they take their first red bites because their love for each other cannot be diminished by varying political views.

As I encourage you, on this holiday, to embrace those who think and vote differently from you, I must finish by sharing two telling facets of Thanksgiving history. First of all, we cannot forget what actually happened at that original Thanksgiving meal back in 1621; the Pilgrims in Plymouth shared a harvest feast with the Wampanoag Native Americans. Two groups of people who could not be more different in their spoken languages, worship of gods, styles of dress, appearance etc, celebrated together with a feast—that’s special. Then, fast forward to 1863 during the Civil War when President Abraham Lincoln turned Thanksgiving into an official holiday. This was obviously a very divided time in the nation—more divided than today—and Lincoln said he hoped that on this new holiday Americans would ask God to “heal the wounds of the nation.” 153 years later, let’s remember President Lincoln’s wish and attempt to fulfill it.

Katherine Berko is a Trinity junior studying abroad in Madrid. Her column, "how in the world," runs on alternate Thursdays.