Well the sh*t has hit the fan. In the weeks following this presidential election the ugly underbelly of our nation has been exposed. Racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia has been brought to the surface and even given a varnish of acceptability.
Promises have been made which cannot be kept. Science has been cast aside. Threats are routinely made. Meanwhile we work our worry beads over what the immediate and long-range future will be for ourselves, for our children and grandchildren.
Into this uncertainty comes my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving.
Full disclosure, I grew up in a family of pessimists. Our motto? ‘Wait for the other shoe to drop and you wont be disappointed.’
Each year Thanksgiving would arrive to remind us to be thankful. To be grateful. Dare I say it? Be hopeful.
Growing up Thanksgiving was more relaxed than some other holidays. There were fewer traditions and expectations. Some years we went to a restaurant or to a family home or hosted family and friends. The food was always good especially my mom’s apple pie.
A favorite memory are of times when the men of my extended family would rent a local hall and cook Thanksgiving dinner. The ladies would play cards and visit, the cousins would run around, while the guys in the kitchen told jokes, cooked and washed dishes.
For such memories I will always be grateful.
This Thanksgiving, as a nation, we are invited to be optimistic. To take time to say thank you and to count our blessings. It is a day to reorient, to be more hopeful. To be gracious.
Is there a lot to be worried over? Of course. But there is also much to be hopeful about. The ties that bind us as a nation…our history, our values will not readily unravel.
We are stronger than we think. More compassionate and unified than we may appear.
Thanksgiving this year is particularly timely. Its a time for us to be thankful for the blessings in our own lives and the blessing of being a united people.
Yes we are an imperfect nation. Yet we continue to aspire to be what Abraham Lincoln called ‘a more perfect union’. This willingness to aspire, to live into our core values is where our hope is to be found.
Let us give thanks.