Looking through some of my past Thanksgiving posts provides some needed perspective for me. For many, this has been the worst year ever, between politics, COVID, the economy, education, riots and the culture war. And perhaps it is, at least for some. But what the past reminds us is that problems, suffering and misery have always been here, and if it’s your suffering, it’s the worst.
But this is why we give thanks. Not for the suffering we endure, but for the suffering we don’t.
It’s become a growing concern of mine that too many people obsess about the awfulness of the world, waking up with dread and seeing their prophesy fulfilled daily. They tell their deepest failings on social media and enjoy the validation of misery from their similarly self-loathing pals. They wallow in misery and are wrapped in the warmth of company.
What they do not do is wake up every morning wondering what great things will happen that day. Rather than approach life as having the potential for joy and wonder, they choose to embrace suffering and misery as if it’s a badge of honor, a virtue. No wonder they suffer from a plethora of problems, from depression to dependency to hatred.
Every day is an opportunity for something good to happen, whether the good is something you do or something that’s done to you. There has never been a perfect world that doesn’t conspire against you, but that doesn’t mean you have to surrender to it. Maybe you’ll win that case. Maybe you’ll meet that special someone. Maybe your child will discover something fabulous. Maybe you’ll just live to see another day. You can choose to relish the good or wallow in the miserable. I choose the good.
Happy Thanksgiving. Thank you for reading SJ. Thank you for supporting its existence. Thank you for being good, decent, honorable people. Thank you for making the world better, even if just a little.
And a special thank you to the unsung hero of SJ, my editor, Beth Bell, who suffers my prose to protect me from my typo-infested extemporaneous self.
Life may not be perfect, and may be pretty damn awful at times, but it beats the hell out of the alternative. If you don’t wake up tomorrow, you won’t be there to find the joy that’s awaiting you. Please be thankful.