Thanksgiving, 2020

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.

25 thoughts on “Thanksgiving, 2020

  1. Keith

    Every day is an opportunity for something good to happen…

    “The world is so full of a number of things, I ‘m sure we should all be as happy as kings.”
    ― Robert Louis Stevenson

    I’m thankful for a respite between online classes and quarantines that keeps me thinking. Happy Thanksgiving to the folks at SJ, writer and commenters, alike.

    As the psalm says…. Who is rich? He who rejoices in his lot.

    May we all be Thankful for what we have.

  2. Joe O.

    “ Maybe your child will discover something fabulous.”

    Bill just found a chip clip. He’s currently trying to affix it to his nose.

    Happy Thanksgiving.

  3. Guitardave

    Ofttimes nothing “good” has to happen for one to be truly thankful.

    The other morning, driving home alone after dropping off a fare, I passed a grey bearded, legless guy going down the shoulder of the road on an arm powered wheelchair/ bike.
    A bolt of epiphianic lightning struck my heart.
    And I wept.
    Some of the tears were admiration for the mans strength of will, but most were the bitter tears of self contempt, as the words ‘there but for the grace of God, go i’ rung in my head….(and the funny-not-funny thought that hes in way better physical condition than me and my soft, still whole body)…
    and then the still small voice said, “Dave, your personal problems and complaints about how the world sucks don’t add up to a speck of dust in this mans life, so STFU!”

    So let’s not forget, and be thankful for all those things we so blindly take for granted.

  4. Drew Conlin

    To have gratitude is something that can be cultivated. It takes practice, but it pays nicely.
    Happy Thanksgiving!

  5. L. Phillips

    Was recently challenged to spend seven days openly expressing gratitude for positive people and events in my life. Turned out to be excellent advice. My thanks to Scott and all the denizens of this hotel – especially CLS, Skink, and Barleycorn. You make me think, even when I don’t want to.

    Grateful for prime rib, too. The wonderful aroma is wafting into my lair now. Happy Thanksgiving to all.

    1. F. Lee Billy

      Hey Phillips Curve, you left me out. I’m that famous-wannabe lawyer from MASSachussets, somewhere near BossTown and all those famous and not-so-famous colleges of higher (?) Education!
      Excellent essay. We second the motions as submitted.

  6. MGould

    I continue to be thankful for people who take the time to clearly and carefully explain law and jurisprudence as it pertains to current events. There is an endless supply of nonsense out there. Happy Thanksgiving all!

  7. AH

    Thank you for keeping up this (likely at many times thankless) endeavour. Never pandering, always thought-provoking.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

  8. CLS

    It could be browser related, but I find it hilarious clicking the link of your past Thanksgiving posts turns up with a search result where the first result is a rant of mine on this day’s importance.

    Literally “Celebrate Thanksgiving, Dammit.”

    Happy Thanksgiving, SHG. I’m personally grateful you opened the door one day for everyone to be subjected to my dumb jokes.

  9. JMK

    Well said, sir. Happy thanksgiving to you and yours, and may we all always find the reasons to be thankful in our lives.

  10. Skink

    I’m thankful to live in a place that comes unraveled, yet has the ability to put itself back together. There are precious few of those.

    And roadkill.

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