From My WindowIssue Date: November 25, 2020
Is the Grinch Stealing Thanksgiving?
By Jane Thibodeau Martin,
Perhaps you are familiar with the famous Dr. Suess book, "The Grinch," or the well-worn but still fun TV special based on the book about how a nasty character tried to ruin Christmas for a charming little village of good people. In the end, the Grinch learns that the holiday isn't about the trimmings and trappings, but rather sincere beliefs held in the soul. And in recognizing this truth, he becomes happier and kinder.
I am thinking about the Thanksgiving holiday right now, but the moral of this story applies equally well.
Like many of you, we will not be hosting or attending a gathering of those we love most this year. The risk is simply too high, the science too convincing. Gathering in spite of the pleas of governors and health care professionals might come with a steep price " an empty place or two at the table forever, long after the angst of missing this single holiday is forgotten.
I will still make a full traditional dinner " but it will be shared with one guest at our home. But portions of that meal will be packaged for others we love and care about, and delivered with safety in mind. Not ideal, not anywhere near as fun. But we will be celebrating all the same.
Thanksgiving is really about taking time to thank our creator for all that we DO have, and force us to "find the good." The principle of gratitude is a cornerstone of all major faith dogmas, and is woven into the fabric of mental health strategies, yoga and meditation, and healthy interpersonal relationships.
So there are absolutely no barriers to safely fulfilling the intent of Thanksgiving this year. Nor must you limit your observation to quiet self-reflection. You can easily share your gratitude with others via phone calls, e-mail, letters or prayer. No, you might not get Grandma's special mincemeat pie, cousin Sue's green bean casserole or Dad's deep friend turkey. But you could let them know they are thought of with love, missed, and that you are looking forward to sharing the normal meal and customs next year.
You can be glad we are not involved in a major war right now. That we have scientists and researchers hard at work on vaccines and therapeutics. That hundreds of thousands of health care workers are spending the Thanksgiving day (or night) caring for others stricken by the virus or the normal injuries and illnesses that make the medical teams and empty beds for incoming patients so critically important.
Maybe you articulate to the people in your household how much easier it is to stay "safer at home" with their company to pass the time. Maybe you are alone and at high risk but friends, neighbors or family are helping you in any way they safely can. Let them know the gratitude you have for their help. Perhaps someone is helping a loved one of yours because you can't be there " what a blessing those helpers are. Say a word of thanks to our essential workers like truck drivers, grocery store employees and gas station attendants who see that our critical needs are met.
If you are able to get outside and walk in the clean, fresh air be grateful for your mobility. If you have a computer and can access the entertainment available on the internet you are better off than many. I am grateful every day for my cell phone that keeps me in contact with those who matter most to me while I must stay away from them. And I am deeply grateful to the mail carriers and other USPS employees. All of you are making this easier for us. We should all feel respect and gratitude to our law enforcement officers, and our active-duty service personnel as well.
Don't be like the old Grinch before his epiphany. Use this occasion not to complain about what you can't or shouldn't do, but observe the holiday of "Thanksgiving" to instead find the good, which is its true intent.
And to those of you who have lost a loved one to Covid, my deep and sincere sympathy. It is you, who will never again share a turkey dinner with your loved one, who really have reason to be depressed, angry or frustrated on Thanksgiving. It is you and your family that I feel sorry for, because my disappointments are comparatively insignificant.
I wish all of you a safe, healthy and peaceful Thanksgiving, and I look forward with optimism to a better 2021.
Song in my head: "Aquarius/Let the Sunshine in" by the Fifth Dimension (1969.) Some Peshtigo High School classmates and I were chatting on line about performing this song during a concert in around 1973. We had a ball with it, and in revisiting it, I find a little positive boost from the exuberant and uplifting message.
You can reach me for commentary, alternative viewpoints or ideas at this e-mail address: JanieTMartin@gmail.com.
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