During this long Thanksgiving weekend, many of will be blessed enough to join those we love around a table to share a meal together. Or maybe by now we’re sitting around listening to our stomach digest, after eating copious amounts of turkey and all the fixin’s, plus great portions of pie, ready for a nap.
Thanksgiving is rather like Christmas. I heard someone refer to it as “Thankmas” There’s the build up, followed at times with the anti-climatic let down. I say this because the expectation often doesn’t measure up to reality.
It’s way too early for me to even think about Christmas and so I write today about Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving’s emphasis is on gratitude, or at least I hope it is, but as most of us know it’s a holiday that wasn’t about this historically for many, especially for Indigenous First Nations people, because it was the colonialist holiday.
Gratitude is exactly where my happiness lies everyday. Regardless of what’s happening in my life or around me, if I can maintain a grateful attitude this can diminish many of my feelings of unhappiness, when I have them. But I’m not always looking to rid myself of unhappy feelings, because otherwise I’d be in denial, going backwards, and I’d probably appear as a rather unfeeling person, lacking in compassion. Reality is, life isn’t always happy. Shit happens.
There was a time when I did everything I could to avoid feelings, mostly through the abuse and misuse of alcohol, something a lot of people do. After 23 years of sobriety, I”m so very grateful I no longer have to live this way. I’ve learned to live gratefully, clean and sober, one day at a time.
Last Thanksgiving in 2016, I’d heard a timely CBC Radio re-broadcast of a program about Viktor Frankel and his book Man’s Search for Meaning. Viktor Frankel’s framed his perception of life as having the freedom to choose his attitude and his own way of response to life whatever our life’s circumstances. I see this as learning how to have a grateful attitude and a way of living my life, not simply for one day out of the year.
And last year on this day, just as I was about to post my blog and hit publish, the power went out and then came back on after three quarters of an hour. Suddenly all over Nova Scotia, 7,800 people, were without power, with some not expected to get power restored until later that week. It was only out here in Apple River, for one afternoon. My response was mostly good but I admit, I said a few swear words. But in Cape Breton it was a very different story where many lost homes after flash flooding caused by a down pour of over 200 mm of rain with in a very short period of time. Some people still have no house to live in this year.
Ironically again, this Thanksgiving day well after supper, the power went out in several parts of Nova Scotia. Fortunately there was no repeat of what happened to the folks in Cape Breton.
The gratitude I have is that we weren’t hit by Hurricanes, happening so frequently in so many parts of the world.
Last year Matthew had been predicted for our area in Nova Scotia and while in the dark then, I wrote twenty pages in my journal by candle light, and I prayed for those who have been effected by this Hurricane, especially in Haiti. This year I pray for all of those areas in the Caribbean, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Texas, Louisiana and New Orleans and the rest.
There is so very much to be grateful for everyday. My prayer is that you be blessed with abundant gratitude, everyday and to please, pass on the gratitude.