Thanksgiving 2023: Still Being Thankful

Go_Bowling balloonicles at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade: a 12-foot bowling ball, 16-foot pins and Brobdingnagian bowling shoes. (November 9, 2020) via Verizon, used w/o permission. see
Brobdignagian bowling shoes in Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. (2020)

This week will be less routine than usual, partly due to Thanksgiving Day. I’ll be staying home, and haven’t decided whether or not I’ll try finding free online streaming of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade.

This — and probably my regular ‘Saturday’ post — will be the text equivalent of a clip show: excerpts from stuff I’ve posted before.

So: Happy Thanksgiving Day, Greetings on November 23, or whatever seems appropriate.

Giving Thanks Anyway

The Associated Press/David J. Phillip's photo: 'Residents wade through floodwaters from Tropical Storm Harvey Sunday, Aug. 27, 2017, in Houston, Texas'. (The Denver Post)Feeling thankful when times are good should be easy.

Being thankful in bad times? Not so much.

I can be thankful that I’ve got a roof over my head, food in the house and a good family. Or I can kvetch about being born with bad hips, two of our kids dying, and every other rough patch in my life.

Being thankful strikes me as making more sense. Rough patches and current economic issues aside, I have a good life.

But what about folks who don’t have a roof over their head, food in their home and a good family? Or, in some cases, any surviving family.

What could someone living with rough times have to be thankful for?

A key word there is “living.” Remembering that being alive beats the alternative has helped me endure suicidal impulses.

I figure existence itself is cause for giving thanks.

That’s because I think God creates and maintains everything and everyone. And lets created beings, including us, help: each according to its nature. (Genesis 1:1; Psalms 136:19; Catechism of the Catholic Church, 301-308)

Our nature being what it is — I’ve talked about that before.

Rough Patches

One of my — and my wife’s — rough patches was when my wife almost died, and Elizabeth did.

I could say that I read Job 1:21 and Psalms 69:3031 while sitting by my wife’s hospital bed: and immediately started thanking God for what was happening.

That’s not what I did.

I tried, briefly, bargaining with God; then got smart and started asking for help while dealing with the unpleasant reality.

Maybe I could score points in some circles by claiming Job-like virtue. But with my particular judgment approaching, that seems imprudent. At best.

Equality, Differences and Being Thankful

William Blake's 'Job Rebuked by His Friends'. (1826)I don’t see a problem with telling God ‘thank you’ for having a roof over my head and food in the house.

Provided that I don’t start imagining that being in one of life’s smooth(ish) patches is due to my outstanding virtue. Or vice.

Stuff happens: wealth and poverty, sickness and health. None of that’s a sure sign of virtue or sin. What I do with what I’ve got: that’s what matters. (1 Timothy 6:10; Hebrews 13:5; Catechism 828, 1509, 2211, 2288-2291, 2292-2296, 2448, 2540, 2544)

That’s why I see no problem with traditional expressions of thanksgiving for abundance. Or simply for having “galore:” enough.1

I think each of us has equal dignity. And that we’re all different. Some need help. Others can give help. Giving, and getting, is part of what being human is about. (Catechism, 1934-1938)

I figure that most, maybe all, of us should be giving and getting help. And being thankful when we can give. (Acts 20:35)

I’m pretty sure being thankful when we give others the opportunity to help us make sense, too. And that’s yet another topic.

Here’s the post I took those excerpts from, and other related ones:

1 Abundance and galore:

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About Brian H. Gill

I was born in 1951. I'm a husband, father and grandfather. One of the kids graduated from college in December, 2008, and is helping her husband run businesses and raise my granddaughter; another is a cartoonist and artist; #3 daughter is a writer; my son is developing a digital game with #3 and #1 daughters. I'm also a writer and artist.
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4 Responses to Thanksgiving 2023: Still Being Thankful

  1. Noticing your mention of a family member dying, I wonder how much you’ve talked about dealing with the death of a loved one before here? This question comes more from how I feel concerningly detached about the deaths of my paternal grandparents and my maternal grandfather, though, especially in comparison to all these emotional depictions of them in media, where I most often see such things for better or worse.

Thanks for taking time to comment!