Today is Thanksgiving Day in the U.S. The origins of this day mean nothing to me, for they are based on lies, on the whitewashing of the factual history of the nation. However, I still treasure the day for other reasons. It is a time to stop for a minute, to remember the things that most of us have to be thankful for, starting with family & friends. But this year feels different to me. I am sad. I feel guilty that I do have so much to be thankful for. I have my family, small though it is, and wonderful friends, all of you included. I have electricity and can keep my house reasonably warm or cool, can keep my food cold in the fridge and then cook it in the oven. I have hot and cold running water and plenty of it. I have a car that runs. We have enough money to pay our bills and still have a bit left over at the end of the month. So yes, I am thankful, but I still feel guilty when I think of all the people, both here and elsewhere, who have none of those things.
In Ukraine, winter is setting in and many residents have no electricity, no water. Some have lost their homes to Russian bombs. Some have lost their spouses, their children and grandchildren. Can you imagine living under those conditions? And apart from donating a few dollars here and there, there is little to nothing that most of us can do to help.
Even here in the U.S., often referred to as a wealthy nation, more than a half-million people are living on the streets or in homeless shelters. 37.9 million people in this country are living in poverty … that’s 11.6% of the population! 6.6 million people worldwide have died of Covid since March 2020. Imagine how many grieving friends and family members they have left behind.
Then there is the rise in all forms of bigotry … LGBTQ people being shoved back into the proverbial closet, Black people being murdered simply because of the colour of their skin, women being stripped of their rights, and religious extremism threatening to invade the very foundation of human rights.
So yes, I feel guilty. I am no better than a homeless person, no better than a person in Ukraine, so why should I be enjoying a veritable feast with my family and good friends, while others suffer so much? It isn’t a perfect world, but frankly … the world could be a whole lot better if governments worked together to solve problems instead of creating them, if those who can afford to shared their wealth with others less fortunate, and if everyone set aside petty differences to work for the collective good.
That said … it is not my intent to be dreary and depressing. We will be celebrating Thanksgiving with our dear friends, the al-Dabbagh family. They came to this country as refugees from Iraq about 10 years ago, and almost immediately we became close friends. They are warm and loving people and we do so enjoy sharing cultures, food, and much joy with them. They have a new baby, Naya, this year who is just 3 months old, so I’ll get to spend time spoiling her! I don’t suggest that we all shouldn’t have a great holiday, but I just wanted to share with you some of my own thoughts, my feelings that despite our troubles, we all have so much to be thankful for.
And on that note, I wish all my friends in the U.S. a very happy holiday with friends & family (and turkey), and to the rest, I just wish you a happy day. I will be busy cooking for our two families (9 people in total), so I won’t likely have an afternoon post nor be answering comments today, but I will try to get caught up on Friday. Love ‘n hugs to you all!