Well, it’s a beautiful morning mid-October 2020, but you’ll be reading this in December. Between my writing and your reading, there are a few events with the power to change a lot in our lives.
As I write this, the California wildfires have burned more than four million acres (the most in recorded history) and more than 100,000 people have evacuated their homes. I can’t imagine what it feels like to watch something of that power moving steadily toward my home, my family, my animals, my possessions.
Already, with no slowdown or end in sight, more than one million people worldwide have died as a result of the Covid-19 virus. Just in America, more than 220,000 have died, as we can’t seem to pull together even on something as indiscriminate as this. If you long for something bipartisan, look no further than this virus. It doesn’t care about your religion, or if you’re tall, short, fat, fit, conservative, liberal, gay, straight, black, white, yellow or brown.
Oh yeah, and there’ll be a presidential election in this hyper-polarized U.S.
BUT, I’m going to focus on another event between now and then: one of my two favorite holidays —Thanksgiving! In my family, so we can be more confident of spending many more with our family all together, we’re not going to cram 15 or so of us in a hugging, laughing, eating, drinking atmosphere this year. Throughout history many have had to sacrifice much more. We’ll not suffer nor whine for choosing this in 2020. Again though, when you read this, the holiday will be over so this column is about its lasting legacy. We still have so much to be so thankful for.
If you’re reading this, you’ve lived your life in the easiest and most plentiful living conditions known to the human species. So first, be thankful you weren’t born in any of the first 19 recorded centuries because they were dramatically different. While by now we’ve all dealt with loss, disappointments, death and we all have our baggage, let’s be thankful for and not take any of these for granted as we meet the challenges posed by the above-mentioned events.
Our parents, who even if they were/are flawed human beings (horrors!) brought us into a world of opportunities. Our health, while probably not perfect, if you’re reading now, it could be worse. Our families, who give us comfort and support. More per person money than most have had throughout history. Our capacity to love, which gets us through so much and includes those wonderful feelings during infatuation. Our only 4- or 5-day work week, which many never know. Our pets, who give back more than we invest. Grocery stores, full of food. Water, always available. Education, for us and our children. Children, just watching them play freely. Music, from country to classical. Private automobiles, that give us so much freedom and mobility. Indoor plumbing, electricity, heat, air conditioning, all adding daily comforts. Cell phones, to keep us in touch with those we care about. Our medicine, eastern and western. Nature, our beautiful Virginia beaches and mountains. All the vast Information at our fingertips on our computers.
Please take a moment to reflect on some of those things we all often do take for granted, but more importantly, for your benefit, think of at least one more. Right now, in December, you know more than I do about the challenges I mentioned earlier. Whether there’s good news or not, focusing on all we do have is psychologically advantageous, and remember: we’re always in a state of transition, so let’s look forward to 2021 and make it a better year.