Thanksgiving weekend in Canada comes at a beautiful time of year; after all, the second Monday of October – our Thanksgiving’s official date – is at the height of fall splendour. And spectacular it is. We can be thankful for that.
My university, UNB, and our city beyond, glowing in their fall finery
Remembering what we’re thankful for beyond the fall colours can be a bit more challenging. The state of the world doesn’t give us much to be thankful for at the moment. The frightening numbers of displaced and hungry people around the world doesn’t give us much to be thankful for. The vulnerability of several of the world’s democracies, including democracies that were meant to lead the way, doesn’t give us much to be thankful for. So that means that we have to look a bit deeper.
The past two Thanksgivings were closed down dramatically because of COVID. Now, although COVID has not disappeared – please remember that – the world has opened up. People are traveling to spend Thanksgiving with loved ones, often loved ones they haven’t seen for many months or even years. That’s definitely something to be very thankful for.
We each have the ability, both within and beyond our own communities, to get involved in volunteer work and/or through donations to make a personal difference in helping others. And in doing so, it helps us feel better. That is something to be thankful for.
In our sometimes struggling democracies, we have the ability to vote and to help others get out to vote. We have that freedom and that responsibility. That is something to be thankful for.
For those of us who are aging (aka old), we live with the reality that we are losing friends and loved ones at an increasing rate. Sadly, it’s part of the inevitability of the cycle of life. It’s not easy; there are times when it’s hard not to feel resentful because of those losses. That’s when we have to remember that the reason we’re losing more friends at our advanced ages is because we and our friends have had the privilege of living this long, living a good, long life. Instead of being resentful, we need to be extremely thankful for the strong friendships we’ve had and for the enduring spirit of those friendships, whose warm memories continue to sustain us.
This year I am particularly thankful:
- That our older son and his family are visiting us for the Thanksgiving weekend. We haven’t seen them all “in the flesh” since August 2021. What a treat.
- That our grandkids – really all kids, and university students – are able to be back to normal (or normal-ish) school routines. It’s been a long, painful period of COVID disruption.
- That we live in a community where people smile and greet each other as they pass on the trails and sidewalks, in the grocery stores, at the gyms, etc., even when they don’t know each other. A friendly nod can make all the difference.
- That our community is a welcoming one to new immigrants from many parts of the world. Our newcomers are enriching the fabric of our city.
- Especially for my close friends and family, with whom I can share both joys and sorrows; and for the very strong memories of a few close friends who have departed this world but whose spirit remains, remarkably strong.
- And for the blogging community; you have enriched my life in ways I could not have imagined.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!