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Thursday, November 25, 2021

Thanksgiving 2021

This is a hard, hard time for many, so I fully understand (not that my opinion here matters that much) how difficult Thanksgiving can be.  We are all surrounded by messaging that tells us to "count our blessings" and "give thanks for all that we have".  I've been there, in that place, where it was nearly impossible to see those things in the face of troubles surrounding me.  That last sentence comes with the enormous caveat that what I've experienced by way of "trouble" firmly falls into the category of first-world in I have not wanted for food or shelter.  Yet, I've also looked at a mental ledger with what seemed like more debits and credits.  "Happy Thanksgiving" was akin to rubbing salt in a wound.

With age comes wisdom though.  I think.  If not age, well then maybe with persistence.

Part of the problem here, as I see it, is that in the United States we have this knack for monetizing virtually everything.  In order to make money off of Thanksgiving, this nation creates a kind of white-bread, Hallmark Channel version of a holiday that in part serves to kick off a season of consumption.  Note that nothing screams "thanks" quite like buying things.  That last sentence was sarcasm, for the record.

Maybe the better thing to do here is to think less about visuals of golden turkeys and made-for-cable movies about troubled people magically finding reasons for thanks at the end of two hours.  We don't need the idealizing of a perfect Thanksgiving...or a perfect life for that matter.  This is because none of us have those things.  None of us.  As was pointed out to me online recently, the grass may be greener on the other side of the fence because it's actually astroturf. 

I think that Thanksgiving works best when it works simplest.  Part is this is manifest by acknowledging our challenges while also being thankful for the fact that every day we wake up we have a chance to get it right.  Getting it right can be hard, nasty business by the way, but we are all capable.  All of us. 

This Thanksgiving, I am grateful for the gift of persistence.

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