Comfort, kin

Blessings and hope on Thanksgiving Day, when Americans celebrate their bounty.

November 21, 2012 

In New Jersey and New York and Connecticut and other places in the Northeast today, people will be giving thanks for their blessings, even though for many this Thanksgiving Day finds them with homes destroyed, or nearly so, by the recent winds and water of Hurricane Sandy. Family memories in the form of pictures and furniture handed down or a great-grandfather’s cane saved through the generations are gone.

Jobs have been frozen; schools have been disrupted. And so many who had but a few precious possessions to begin with have lost them now. Life will not be the same, ever again.

And yet, today, perhaps in a shelter or in an uncle’s home or a friend’s spare room, they’ll join other Americans in giving thanks. Yes, they will. And in their prayers and their thoughts and their conversations, they’ll reflect on the reasons why even now they should be thankful.

So our good thoughts and hopes go with them today: Keep the faith. Carry on. Struggle through. And we salute their gumption, their grit, their courage. We do the same for our men and women in uniform, far from home. And for our firefighters and our police and our ambulance drivers and doctors and nurses working today. We are thankful indeed, for all of them.

For those who find themselves with a cornucopia today, whose good fortune is evident in all their surroundings, this is the day not just to be thankful for America’s enduring bounty but to look for ways to make this holiday season more abundant for others. To give our disadvantaged neighbors a reason to be thankful themselves.

Consider that if it’s a blessing to spend today in happiness, being grateful for our comfort and warmth, then such a blessing would be multiplied a thousand times over if, in acts of kindness and generosity, those whom we helped might be thankful, too – for us.

So today, once the turkey is bound for the freezer in the form of hash and everything else is stuffed in the fridge and the Pepto has been passed ’round, let us adjourn to our closets to pull out all those coats and pants and shoes we’ve forgotten about, pack them up and drive them to a good charity. Our closets will be lightened, and our hearts, too.

And let’s get the kids involved, diving in their toy chests to pull out all the stuff they’ve long ago abandoned. To another child, with little, or even with nothing, an old doll or car or toy soldier set might make them feel they’d hit the showroom at F.A.O. Schwarz in Manhattan.

Yes, Thanksgiving is relative, you see. Those who have much and take much for granted need to pause this day to consider how really lucky they are. Those who have little – well, their thanks is all the more profound, because they understand it really isn’t material goods that matter but rather the blessing of kin and love and health and hope from within.

Hope, that’s it! Hope and love and thanks and charity and thoughts of humankind. Amen!

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