Thanksgiving is a bit different this year for a lot of people. Gatherings may be smaller, and distant relatives may be absent, unable or unwilling to risk travel. Others may be changing their traditional feasts in defiant ways, tired of the restrictions. They may gather together in large crowds, proclaiming their “rights”, saying how this could be their last year with older relatives and “no one is going to stop them.” I pray these “last years” aren’t as a result of Covid.
This year seems to have an angrier feel. People are tired of being afraid, tired of having the familiar patterns of their lives changed. They are tired of being ruled by an invisible enemy, one so small they can only trust that the measures they are told to take are effective in defeating it. It’s natural — we fear what we cannot see.
Then there is a leader, a president who staunchly refuses to accept defeat. A leader who also refuses to wear a mask, who seems to be done with the whole issue of the “China virus” and is no longer interested in discussing it. A man who has apparently had the virus, but recovered as quickly and easily as if it were a mere cold. We are left in a kind of limbo while we wait to see the outcome and wonder about the truth of conspiracy theories. We no longer know what to believe.
Into the midst of all this anger and confusion comes Thanksgiving. A time of giving thanks. Traditional football games are played to an empty house and the parade — is the annual Macy’s parade even still happening? Who knows.
The reason for the day still exists. A time to give thanks for all we have, for the bounty of blessings that, if you look around, still exist. There are still people — family and friends — that we love. They are the glue that holds us together, especially this year when the world seems to be spinning out of control. Give thanks for those you love, whether you are able to gather in person or not.
This past week, I received several emails from friends. One told me she was grateful for me, for my friendship. It was like a balm for my troubled soul. Another friend wrote simply that he was thinking of me. It made me smile for so many reasons, relief not being the least of them. It was a friend I hadn’t from in a while. Irrational or not, fear has become an unwelcome tenant this year.
My message today is a simple one — give thanks. Look around at all the people you know, whether from social media, work, or everyday life. Give them a call, send a note or an email; comment on a social media post instead of just scrolling by. Tell them thanks for being a part of your life. Let the people you love know how grateful you are for their support — in the past, yes, but even more so now — in the time of Covid.
May you all have a peaceful and safe Thanksgiving. And thank you for reading this — I am grateful for each and every one of you.