Like so many things in 2020, Thanksgiving weekend may look very different this year. Many of us are mourning the loss of large family gatherings, sharing a big meal together, travelling to see the people we love. Instead, we may be gathering in our smaller “bubbles” or visiting loved ones virtually and staying much closer to home.
It may seem there is little to be grateful for this year, but I wonder if maybe this is a year to be especially grateful. People have struggled; people have suffered. Some have lost loved ones and others have faced huge health challenges. Many are experiencing financial insecurity as they have lost jobs or experienced significant downsizing. Relationships have been pushed to their limits. Families may look very different.
So what could there possibly be to be thankful for?
In the midst of dark times, especially dark times that seem never to end, it is increasingly difficult to believe there will be light. But in the absence of darkness, we miss those moments of light. The other day when I was heading to work early in the morning, I saw a very bright meteor streak across the sky. It was fleeting and it was beautiful. And if the sky had not been dark, I would have missed it.
So what do we have to be thankful for? Coronavirus has taken away the way we work and live. But because we have been forced to change the way we work and live, we have learned that we can adapt and be innovative. My relationship experienced a major change in March, but because of this huge change, we have become better parents together, and better friends to one another. We can’t always visit one another, so we have learned to appreciate the time we do spend together. I had surgery in January to remove a chondrosarcoma (remember Tina?) which forced me to consider my health and re-evaluate my priorities and to genuinely appreciate the gift of my life.
What can you be thankful for this Thanksgiving? I will spend this weekend being thankful for my amazing family, who love and support me. I will be thankful for the meaningful work I get to do each day and for the dedicated and caring teachers who sacrifice their time and energy and resources to support young people, many of whom live through and overcome very challenging circumstances. I will be thankful for my health and even though I am experiencing significant pain in my leg right now, that there are knowledgeable people working to find out why and to help me continue my recovery. I am thankful for friends, the ones I have known forever and the ones who have found their way into my life.
I will be thankful that I have enough. I will be thankful that I am enough.
Whatever you are doing this weekend, whether you are celebrating with family, or spending it alone, I hope you will take a moment to reflect on the moments of light amidst some dark times. I hope you will tell the people you love that you are grateful for them. I hope that you will feel pride in your work and pride in the ways you are making the world better. I am thankful for you.
Happy Thanksgiving 2020.