There are lots of reasons for me to be sad, depressed, or even angry right now and at this time of the year. I am sure that is true for every one of us. American Thanksgiving Day is wonderful for a number of reasons, not least of which is the fact that it is a holiday that everyone can embrace and most do. While its roots are in a very specific historical, if somewhat mythological, context which was in turn based upon the Christian (and Jewish) tradition of giving thanks to God for harvest and preserving our lives for another year, anyone and everyone can appreciate the need to stop and be thankful. Especially when I feel that I have so much about which to be angry, bitter, or sad.
It is fundamentally true that the choice is ours. We can choose to be bitter about the trust betrayed last week, or to be sad that loved ones are no longer with us, or angry and frustrated that the loved ones who are with us are not always so lovely. Today provides us all with the deliberate and purposeful sacred time to stop and consider instead what we are thankful for. And in so doing, in choosing to think about the blessings that we have received, our outlook is transformed and we are better people.
I am thankful for my family, for my wife and best friend. I am thankful for every minute with our beautiful daughter and silly son, because we know how few those minutes can be and that they cannot be wasted wallowing in pity and grief. I am eternally grateful for our parents, siblings, cousins, and friends who have always been with us, but never more so than in the last two years. The Penn State, State College, and soccer communities have been a source of incredible strength and comfort. And of course I am grateful for the gift of the resurrection that will make all things new and turn my mourning into dancing.
Weeping may linger for the night,
but joy comes with the morning.
– Ps. 30