We recently passed thanksgiving here in Canada. With apologies to our American cousins, we do it at a different time of the year. The benefits of Canadian thanksgiving is warmer days and some leaves still on the trees. American thanksgiving is superior because of all the football. This is a piece I wrote about thanksgiving, be it Canadian or American, it’s all the same.
Thanksgiving. A time to gather with family, and give thanks for our blessings. A time to look at all the things in your life that are good, and FEEL good about it. But what about when you don’t feel particularly thankful? What if things in your life have conspired to take away so much, security, love, money, loved ones? What if you don’t even know if you believe in the entity to which you are supposedly give thanks anymore? That’s always been a struggle, and it’s not one that’s gotten any easier: Give thanks for what?
For the food on the table? Don’t I work for that? My family? What about the ones that are a constant annoyance or disappointment? And isn’t a loving family something that should be a given, not a special blessing? Give thanks for strength, because you’ve managed to endure? It would be far better to be thankful for things not happening that are horrible, instead of gratitude of surviving tragedy.
How many people are sitting down to the table to give thanks, and their minds are consumed with their worries instead of their wonders?
An empty seat that was once filled. A husband, a parent… a child. Sitting up to a fine feast of sandwiches or cold cuts because a turkey wasn’t in the budget, and next month won’t be easier. Leaving the table early because you have to go work another shift at the job that isn’t really making you happy, and isn’t really paying for everything? Finishing your thanksgiving meal with a handful of pills to keep your disease at bay for another day?
Give thanks? Why? To whom? What for?
I have only one answer: Because even if you don’t have someone to thank, our souls simply must respond. To the good, to the lovely, to the intimate wonders that we create together. Does it matter if you don’t believe that they are provided by a benevolent supernatural being? No. Does it matter if you just haven’t felt much of anything but thanklessness and pain? No. Your soul, be it figment or reality, sings at the small things.
The friends who stood by you. Their words, their laughter. Give thanks to them for being in your life. The piece of music that brings tears to your eyes. Give thanks to the creator of the beauty. To the lover in your life, who takes you away from all of it, if only for moments at a time… give thanks to them for loving you.
Give thanks, yes. Thanks. Give thanks to the pinpoints of light in the often dark room, that makes life worth anything at all.