A Silenced Thanksgiving

A Silenced Thanksgiving
Paula Ratliff

Thanksgiving may be a little different this year; after all, we couldn’t expect to have a normal Thanksgiving in the year 2020. I suspect Christmas will be different as well, but regardless of any mandates, I’m predicting the largest New Year’s Party EVER when 2020 ends!

This is definitely the first Thanksgiving when our government has told us how many guests we are allowed to have in our homes and how many families can be represented. Our governor said that we “do not want to kill our grandparents.” I agree, I would never want to kill anyone. However, I struggle with leaving them alone in silence, because death could knock on their door, any day from a variety of health challenges. Should we live our lives in fear or should we mitigate as many risks as possible and proceed? I guess we will each have to answer that question.

As you approach your Thanksgiving celebrations, regardless of the size, shape, and location, may I suggest that families avoid the topic of politics? While some are celebrating, others have a wound that has yet to heal. Any type of political discussions will not end well.

Perhaps you could structure the conversations toward other topics, perhaps adding some music in the background or a play classic movie on the television. Perhaps this year is a good time to visit the old family photo albums, as perhaps we all are missing the good old days. Maybe this would be a good time to create a tribute to family members or friends that have passed. Maybe lighting a candle and taking a few minutes to remember will allow some healing.

Perhaps the more technologically advanced guests could direct a Zoom call or Facetime for family members and friends who cannot be present. Yet, this only works if the non-present guests have the technology on their end. If it can work, it certainly helps to fill in the distance.

If the weather is nice, take some activities outside. Let the kids run and play. Enjoy a brisk walk while reflecting on the blessings in your life.

This year has challenged our faith in God and humanity, yet it has strengthened our resolve to move past the pandemic and back into a semblance of normalcy. Our families have been separated, loved ones have died alone, our children have been introduced to new technologies and new methods of learning; while many jobs and professions have been redefined as non essential. We have struggled with new definitions and new expectations.

We have re-defined heroes as our medical professionals have been thrown into the midst of the pandemic; while in many cities across the nation, our law enforcement heroes have been vilified. We need to fix that by acknowledging the safety and security we enjoy every day is given to us by those who serve our nation and our communities.

This year has brought tremendous changes to our world. Some changes have been arbitrary and perhaps, counter-productive. Other changes have been historic.

So, as we gather together or if you are spending the day in silence away from family and friends, please remember to give thanks for the blessings in your life. Regardless of the challenges 2020 has presented, regardless of the illnesses, hurts and disappointments, it is still a beautiful world and we are blessed.

May our gratitude not be silenced. May our love for each other not be silenced. May our love and devotion for our country not be silenced. May we speak softly with each other and may our words express love and gratitude. Our agreed silence does not mean submission. It means we are thinking and avoiding the clutter of conversation. Silence can be golden.

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