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i have nothing to be thankful for?

11/24/2020 08:54:50 AM


Rabbi Jeffrey Myers

It is easy to feel that there is nothing to be thankful for this coming Thanksgiving. We have been advised by authorities not to travel to family, which is what my family decided to do. Instead, we will have an intimate meal over Zoom with family. The inability to gather with family and friends during holidays certainly puts a damper on the celebratory nature of a holiday, and when you add the gradually increasing duration of the pandemic, all of us are weary and want our lives back. Alas, some have ignored warnings, became infected, and even lost their lives. Our daily news continues to tell the tale of increasing infection rates and deaths, with the simultaneous push for a cure enmeshed in a race to the proverbial finish line. We have watched every movie that we’ve ever wanted to view and binged series that we never saw. We have taken up baking and cooking and gained more weight than we dare admit. When we speak to family and friends, there seems to be nothing new or exciting to share. Our country is depressed.

I think that Thanksgiving comes at a perfect time for us to pause and consider if there is anything for which we can be thankful. If you are reading this blog, then you have an electronic device that you have sufficient skills to utilize and read these words as well as WiFi, and even though you might be wearing glasses, you can still read it. You are most likely sitting in a chair in your domicile, be it a home, apartment, condo or such, and hopefully not wearing your winter coat because the heat is working. If you are sitting at a kitchen table and eating, then you most likely have working appliances, electricity and food. We take all that we have for granted, possibly never taking a time out to appreciate how fortunate we are. You might be home by yourself, but you might not have contracted COVID-19. You worked to purchase what you possess, and may currently receive a pension and Social Security and Medicare.

Today is a day for gratitude for the above. You are not intubated in an ICU detached from your loved ones who bemoan your fate. You are not still looking for employment, as your prior employer went out of business due to the pandemic, and you have been unable to find work and unemployment insurance ran out. You are not wondering where your next meal might come from. You don’t have any heat, so you run your oven while your children sit shivering. You have a cough but have no health insurance, so you cannot afford to see a doctor. Your landlord evicted you and your meager possessions, and you are staying in a homeless shelter, or crammed into a small apartment with your sister and her family. I could go on, but I think you get my point.

It is not enough to merely feel gratitude; we must express it, but not solely with words, but through deeds. Even if everyone donated five dollars a month to food pantry, that little bit will help. We have the capacity to solve the challenges of food insecurity, housing insecurity, job insecurity and health insecurity. God gave us brains, as witnessed by the incredible speed that three pharmaceutical companies have announced vaccines for COVID-19 in record time. The aforementioned problems preceded the pandemic and will exist after the pandemic. Our gratitude this Thanksgiving must extend to those in need, to demonstrate that we want to be part of the solution. As you enjoy your Thanksgiving meal in comfortable surroundings, pause to say thank you to God for the blessings in your life, and think about what you can do so that one additional family might be able to do the same.

Sun, January 17 2021 4 Shevat 5781