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November 21, 2018

Giving Thanks

Patricia A. Kelly

Happy Thanksgiving to all. Thanksgiving was begun to give thanks for the survival of colonists of the “new world,” the future United States of America.

 

There are many, in and out of our country, from California fire survivors, to mass shooting survivors, to military members in harm’s way, who are at about that point in their lives. They, the lucky ones, have made it out alive, maybe without homes, pets, family members or friends, but alive to fight another day.

 

They may see this as a mixed blessing as they mourn their losses, but something good can come from their survival and the perspective they can bring to the rest of us.

 

The world seems to have changed for the worse, from weather, to crime, to political polarization, to constant lawsuits, and angry attempts to blame others for so many things that don’t really relate to blame.

 

In fact, the world has not changed for the worse in the last few decades. If you think only of well-known periods from the past, you can come up with the French Revolution, an incredible bloodbath, World War I, with 110,000 U.S. casualties alone, slavery and Jim Crow and the Ku Klux Klan in The U.S., World War II and the Holocaust, and many more. So many people died during Napoleon’s campaign at Austerlitz that farmers are still plowing up bones from that disaster.

 

The American political scene is very painful for many, with all the hateful talk, twisting of truth and forecasts of doom. Thank goodness the latest elections are over, and we can choose to ignore pundit predictions for a month or so.

 

One of the things contributing to our unease is the constant flow of information from news and social media. Hearing about terrible events 24/7 makes them seem worse, and even more frequent than they are.

 

Our world is not in great shape, but things could be much worse. People such as Better Angels are already reacting to nasty dialogue by working toward civil discourse among us. In our country, individuals and private charities go overboard to help every victim of natural disaster, and our government does a very reasonable job on this, too.

 

People are out there helping children in so many situations. They help with wishes for the seriously ill, housing their families and even providing transportation for treatment. People are working on children’s health, education, protection from abuse and neglect, nutrition and fun.

 

We have Meals on Wheels, and transportation assistance for seniors. We help with Go Fund Me for those facing catastrophe.

 

People all over this country are working to help others, not to mention going to school and work to learn and contribute to their families and to society.

 

Things aren’t so bad, all things considered, and we can be thankful for all of that.

 

Most all of us will have a great dinner on Thursday, some admittedly in soup kitchens and most with family and friends, no matter the mother-in-law jokes. This is a true blessing.

 

Think how rich we are as a society to even be arguing about whether stores should open on Thanksgiving for the great holiday spending splurge that heralds every Christmas here.

 

Gas at Costco was $2.29 a gallon yesterday. Hurrah, cheaper travel!

 

Those of us who have family and friends, cars, homes with working utilities, and more than enough to eat are very blessed indeed.

 

Every day is another opportunity-to achieve, to drink a good cup of coffee, to eat a satisfying meal, to share love and affection with someone special, to watch the sun set.

 

We, as a people have survived natural disasters, mean-spirited political blather, information overload, and our own personal struggles for one more year. Hurrah!

 

Let’s relax and enjoy the next month or so. Be generous with love and spend what we can afford. Spend some time planning next year. Spend some time just hanging out with those we care about. Enjoy the lights and color of the season. Bake some cookies, or a ham, or turkey. Give a Christmas gift to a family in need.

 

We survived one more year. Let’s let it all go and move on to celebration.

 

patriciaklly@aol.com

 



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