In the United States, where I live, we have a lovely holiday. Lovely for two reasons. One is that its only major ritual is cooking and eating a huge meal – huge enough that we pet-pups are pretty much guaranteed leftovers!
But the other loveliness is the meaning of it. It’s a day all about gratitude.
The legend (and the more historical discoveries that come out, the more it seems to be… yeah… a legend!) is that when a group of religious refugees came here from England in the 1600s, the local people helped teach them how to survive in this harsh new environment. And to show their appreciation, the English pilgrims set up a great feast, sharing all they’d grown and caught with those who taught them how to do so.
Now I’m not going to go into the details of what of that is true, or the horrors of what the Europeans later did to those local residents. But I do love that it eventually resulted in a day of gratitude. A holiday for everyone.
Some time back, when The Pawprint was new, I put out a list every year at this time, of what I was grateful for that year. It might be something exciting and hopeful in international relations, or some music that Handsome played a lot and I liked the sound of, or maybe just something tasty I’d had the day before. Whatever came to my mind.
But as optimistic and cheerful a pup as I am, creating such a list would be hard this year! Everything I can think of to be thankful for has a darker underside, a “Yeah But.” Happy about a beautiful day? Yeah, but climate change is taking those away. Happy about a dear friend? Yeah, but what about the ones you’ve lost to this awful pandemic?
But I refuse to sit in resentment and misery! That’s just not what dogs are about!
So instead, this year I’m going to offer an “Even Though” list of Thanksgiving. Not denying what’s wrong, but focusing on what I’m thankful for.
You see, I find that, when we do that, it makes us see yet more to be thankful for, and helps us create a world more worthy of that gratitude.
And that creates hope. The most powerful force I know, next to love.
EVEN THOUGH the Glasgow Climate Change Conference didn’t come up with nearly enough solutions to our problems, more was agreed upon than ever before, and directions were set for future improvements.
EVEN THOUGH variants and fear have kept the stupid Coronavirus raging for another year, medical discoveries, international assistance, and growing awareness and knowledge keep us moving toward a new day of embracing and enjoying each other fearlessly again.
EVEN THOUGH the political system in my country is rife with forces keeping improvements at bay, the horrific top-down corruption and murderous neglect of the past four years has ended, and good people are able to at least try to make things better.
EVEN THOUGH Handsome’s work keeps him away too much, he still gives me treats every time he leaves, which eases my heartache.
EVEN THOUGH the stupid virus has still reduced attendance at plays, movies, concerts, and sports events, they’re all coming back, spitting in the face of the disease that tried to destroy them.
EVEN THOUGH, on that note, most people aren’t able to see it on the big screen, In the Heights is a really fun movie that makes pretty much everyone who sees it happy and want to dance.
EVEN THOUGH it’s still hard for young people to meet up freely, love continues to bloom and offer hope to all.
EVEN THOUGH it’s still hard for anyone to meet up freely, technology has allowed for virtual face-to-face meetings that have kept humans at least somewhat connected (though we dogs miss smelling everyone SO MUCH).
EVEN THOUGH international trade is blocked up in so many ways, most of us can still find something to eat, or ways to help feed those who can’t.
EVEN THOUGH everyone is living in fear, and many get sick or even die every day from this awfulness, people still find joy and reasons to love life every second.
And toughest of all to say, EVEN THOUGH we have lost beings we love and will always feel the pain of that loss, that pain comes because of the beautiful memories and the profound ways those now-angels have affected and changed us forever.
And maybe that last one is the greatest gratitude of all.
Happy Thanksgiving, wherever you are. And may next year bring countless reasons for gratitude that don’t require “Even Though”s!
Like my gratitude for you!
Love and Thanks as always,