(Viola is busy celebrating the holiday with family, and asked to have her special Thanksgiving message posted today)
It is important as Americans to celebrate this day as a reminder of our unique heritage and the intricate past we have woven. We are a country made of many peoples with intricate pasts. Every person’s hereditary contribution to the American landscape is unique and shaded with the colors of justice/injustice, freedom/slavery, sacrifice/privilege, and ethnic cultural/American identity. Sadly, Thanksgiving, however, is often fraught with political and even familial tensions.
We in the United States—and elsewhere on other important holidays—have to move past these tensions on events that should be celebratory. Our world has become too fraught with conflict over the most mundane matters. We don’t simply disagree with others over politics; we shoot them or invade their homes with hammers. We don’t simply follow the codes of our own religion; we insist others must follow them as well and enact laws to restrict the rights of others. We shoot gathered groups of people in public places who may not live a lifestyle we approve; we vilify people by race, religion, or ethnicity on social media. Sometimes, it is hard to remain thankful in a world with so much hate. Only today, a university I once attended had to close because of a threat.
Instead of ranting against others, we should count the blessings of our daily lives. We should remain grateful for our daily blessings and not concentrate on the hate we feel for others—if we feel hate. We need to push past the limits of our own gratitude. Most of us do not have perfect lives; however, they are far from imperfect, either. I am no saint. I have had my share of angry, self-righteous, and ungrateful thoughts; however, I have made a promise to myself that I will not dwell on negativity. My husband just celebrated a milestone birthday; we had a very wonderful gathering with a small group of friends. My school voted me Teacher of the Year; my sainted mother would have been so proud! We have not yet sold my rental house (St. Joseph, please come through), but we have the option to rent it if we don’t. We will celebrate Thanksgiving with family out of state this year, and our beloved New Orleans Saints won their last game.
In my writing, I write characters that rise above hatred, crippling challenges, and fear. We need to rise above that paralyzing ingratitude in our own lives as well and count our daily thanksgivings.
Happy Thanksgiving to all –