I haven’t been downtown recently but I’m quite sure that across the United States the Christmas decorations have been strung across the streets and the lights and glitter put out for all to share. It’s nice that Thanksgiving comes first, and we should all take the time to reflect on the connection between the two holidays.
Even when we may be down, we can learn to be thankful. We are breathing, heck, we even survived another grueling election with all the name-calling and fist-shaking. More level heads have made progress on both sides of the aisle and while pessimists will be pessimistic about the ability of Congress to move forward, this is not the first time that’s happened and not the last. We survived and hopefully we’ll be able to move forward together.
The most difficult battle is on a personal level. Often we project out the anger and frustration we feel toward ourselves onto others. Examining what’s going on inside is never an easy task – it’s always ongoing – but it’s one we’re capable of doing and there’s help available. We all need to make note of that. None of us is alone nor should we feel alone, especially at this time of the year.
Thanksgiving! There’s meaning there beyond getting stuffed like the turkey or doubling down on the pumpkin pie. We can start by putting our needs aside for a day and helping others – serve in a soup kitchen or make a larger donation to the needy if you can. And if it’s too late this year, put the thought in the back of your mind for next year. Better yet, tell your partner or kids, “Hey, what if we help others next year? We could do it as a family or a club.”
The ability to be kind to others, to be considerate, is something we can all be thankful for. Perhaps not in every waking moment, few of us are saints, but when we find ourselves close to flying off and cursing that other dumb **&&!@# that cut us off or voted differently, just once we should acknowledge that they’re coming from a different place and their feelings and politics make perfect sense to them and that maybe what you do is just as crazy to them. A good laugh – two crazies getting together and agreeing that for Thanksgiving or Christmas they can share a joke and a piece of pie.
Our struggles can be deeper than that; an overwhelming depression or anxiety, a feeling of aloneness or anxiety. Take a deep breath. You are not alone and words on a blog can help with your challenges if you give them a chance. Please accept that as I type this I’m trying to be in your corner, squeeze your hand, and whisper, “Together, we’ll get through this! I know we will.”
I’ll help you and you’ll help me. In a moment we’ll break through our shells and reach out. I won’t be alone, and neither will you be. We’ll reach out and commit a random act of kindness, one that we wouldn’t have done otherwise (I’m certain that you are already considerate.) Even sitting alone we can think of someone else – finally, call or write a note, thank them for being who they are. Or trying doubly hard, close our eyes and project “THANK YOU” into the universe and save on the stamp. Soften the hardness and the helplessness we may feel by thinking of others – they too are struggling.
Try balancing each minus with a plus. If you’re reading this, we’re on the same team. I going to score that up as a couple of pluses and send out my best wishes for a fulfilling Thanksgiving and a joyous holiday season.
Ken was a Professor of Mathematics, a ceramicist, a welder, and an IBMer until downsized in 2000. He taught yoga until COVID-19 decided otherwise. He continues writing, living with his wife and beagle in Shorewood, Wisconsin. He enjoys chamber music and mysteries. He’s a homebrewer and runs whitewater rivers. Ken is a writer and his literary works can be found at https://www.kmkbooks.com/
He welcomes feedback on his articles and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.