Thoughts at Thanksgiving

It’s that time of the year again. America is gearing up to spend some quality time with their loved ones over a turkey and pumpkin pie. We’ve all seen it on our screens even if we’ve never actually experienced it in real life: happy families gathered around a laden table, the dog chillin’ with the cat by a blazing fire.

Of all the Americanisms we’ve adopted, and goodness knows the rest of the western world has adopted a fair few, Thanksgiving seems to have inexplicably slipped the festivity net. One could be cynical and claim that there is too little commercialism linked to Thanksgiving Day to warrant any major market-driven media hype (a conclusion drawn from the fact its twin counterpart, Black Friday, is firmly taking root both online and on the high street over here) but I’ve always thought Thanksgiving sounded particularly agreeable and sincere; an opportunity to sit back and take stock in a manner that perhaps gets lost in the hectic hustle and bustle of must-do Christmas get-togethers down the road.

But whether or not we actually celebrate Thanksgiving today, there’s nothing to stop any of us from quietly taking a moment to count our own blessings.

I’m propped up in bed writing this blog. My husband had just left for work; he’ll drop off the kids at school on the way. My tummy’s full of breakfast. The house is totally quiet, bar the odd patter of cat paws and a grunt from the dog basket. A cool autumn breeze is blowing off the Baltic Sea and in through the bedroom window. In two hours I’m being picked up by a gal pal and taken for an MRI at the hospital. Then they’ll fix my bust shoulder. A hot shower will ease the pain. As do my modern painkillers. So much to be grateful for, and the day has barely begun. I can even stretch my good arm to scratch the itch on my leg.

Here’s my own list of top ten gratitude gifts.

1. Family and friends.
2. Good health and access to modern hospital facilities.
3. Clean tap water.
4. A safe night’s sleep in a warm, clean bed.
5. Grocery stores full of food to feed the family.
6. Freedom to live without threat or harassment.
7. My education, and my daughters’ education.
8. Living in a country with four seasons.
9. The time to write my novel.
10. Belief in a bright future.

But life, even in a western civilisation with much for which to be grateful, is not always this sweet.

There is a good deal of unrest in America right now, and understandably so. The stakes are high when there’s a substantial perceived injustice on both a personal and inter-racial level. It’s far from certain whether the police officer was justified or overreacted in an unacceptable, should-be-held-accountable way. We cannot be sure race even entered into the equation. Personally, I think the case should have gone to trial to either clear the officer’s good name once and for all or punish the murderer with the full force of the law. But this is not to be.

So now I hope and pray they can find some peace this Thanksgiving in Ferguson.

For all their sakes.

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