Like Wreck-It Ralph on movie screens everywhere, the year 2020 has upended everybody’s plans for a better tomorrow. The circumstances of the year, the emergence of a worldwide pandemic, a very contentious election season that led to serious questions of election security and a President that is trying to avail himself of every single option available to him to keep his job, has made us question what do we really have to be thankful for this year as Thanksgiving day has arrived? Well there are plenty of things to be thankful for this year even with all of the uncertainty, fear, and division that we face in this world.
Even if you’re not able to celebrate Thanksgiving with your extended family this year, you should be able to celebrate it with your immediate family. Family is always important, but never more so than this year. When the world wide pandemic hit and governors around the country locked down their states, many people got the opportunity to spend more time with their family members either because they lost their job, worked from home, or attended school virtually. It’s important that we take time to strengthen those bonds of our immediate family, even if there’s not a worldwide pandemic forcing us to spend more time together, because those are the people that are always going to have your back regardless. Trust me I have a brother. While it is my solemn right and obligation as his younger brother to annoy the snot out of him and bicker with him, if you attack him then let’s just say I’ll go after you like a excited hoard of shoppers goes after a box of discount towels at Walmart on Black Friday. Cherish these moments that you have with your family, and be thankful for them everyday not just on Thanksgiving, because eventually they won’t be around to continue to have those memories. Like my father who passed away this year after a decades long battle with dementia.
Almost as important as your connection with your family is your connections with your friends. You’re close friends.I’m talking about your friends that you share everything with and that know you better than you know yourself. While having lots of acquaintances is perfectly fine, the people that like every one of your Facebook posts but that you only see once a month or less aren’t your close friends. I’m talking about the kind of friend that wouldn’t be able to come bail you out of jail if you got in trouble because they’d be sitting right there next to you in the cell saying “Darn it wasn’t that fun?”. I’m talking about the kind of friend that encourages you to be who you are even if it’s not their cup of tea, because it brings joy to your life. Those friendships are hard to find in this life and when you find them, you must cherish them and be thankful for them regardless if it’s a holiday. Be thankful for them because they’ve chosen you to welcome into their inner sanctum of life, and they didn’t have to.
Some people are better able to handle the stress and struggles of life than others. If the year 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that tomorrow is never guaranteed to you. The question is how do you want to choose to live your life and the remaining days we have on this earth together, be it one day or 10,000 days? The Bible says “this too shall pass” so whatever struggles or hardships you’ve got going on in your life right now it’ll pass. Lost your job this year? It too shall pass. Keep on trucking and continually working to improve yourself, and eventually you’ll come out the other side better and stronger. Lost a loved one this year to COVID or another condition? This also shall pass. One day, sooner or later, we will all meet again on the other side of the life bridge. This separation from your loved ones that you’re experiencing is only temporary and those loved ones would not want you to be paralyzed by grief or loneliness. They would want you to get out and live your life and be happy and successful. Most importantly, they would not want you to live your life in fear. They would not want you to live with your life in fear of a pandemic or virus, in fear of economic insecurity, or in fear of loneliness.
We can also be thankful that there are people in this life that are passionate about helping people and are working hard to help get this country and this world through to the other side of this bandemic.
Finally, the thing that I am most of thankful for, my pets. I have three dogs. One is a Yorkie named Moonpie. Two are Weimaraners, Starla and Sampson. Pets don’t care about things like worldwide pandemics or economic insecurity or societal lockdowns. The only thing pets care about is you. The only thing pets have ever wanted in life is to spend time with you. They are happiest when you come home, and they are saddest when you leave. That singular focus on togetherness and that unwavering commitment to love should remind us all that ultimately that’s the most important thing in life. Being together and loving one another. Everything else in life is just noise.
Togetherness and love is what brings joy to this life. And that is something we can all be thankful for. Happy Thanksgiving!