From The InnkeepersNovember 2020
November 2020 Blog
From Remembering to Gratitude
The month of November has as its bookends two overarching themes: remembrance and gratitude. The first bookend happens on November 2. In my childhood at Catholic school, that was when we celebrated All Soul’s Day. It was the one day each year set aside to say prayers for those in our family and community who had died. Well because I was so young the only relative that I knew who had died in my lifetime was my paternal grandpa who died when I was 5. But now of course the list is much longer: grandparents, parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, in-laws, and friends. A day is scarcely long enough to remember each of them, one at a time, but I do especially on that day and throughout the month, dwell in the memory of their importance to me, of how they shaped who I am today, of the events in our shared lives, and how they challenged, loved, cared for, and fit into the framework of family-both original and extended. In this way, remembering helps us to transcend time and space and continues to become an ongoing, creative, life-sustaining force. Remembering helps us put together the pieces of our lives into a discernible whole.
This year, in my opinion, we are also called to remember the 220,0000 plus people who are no longer alive in this country due to the mismanagement of the Covid pandemic. Even though our immediate families may not as yet have been touched with death or illness caused by this virus, I believe it is incumbent upon us to remember how we got here. How did our cultural and civic entropy of the last several years slide into the depths that allowed the creation of such suffering? The process of remembering begins with the responsibility to vote so we may begin anew the process of creating a world that works for all. This act of remembering will eventually help us put together the pieces of our nation into a whole that represents the best of who we are.
The second bookend comes at the end of the month of November. The Thanksgiving Holiday, normally a time for family gatherings both large and small, will undoubtedly be different this year. With the constraints placed by travelling long distances our family table will shrink in size this holiday season. But, no matter how big or how small the gathering, the original purpose of setting the time aside to be together and to say “Thank you” need not be lost in the malaise of what the holiday cannot be for us this year. Admittedly Thanksgiving 2020 may be a little more difficult than other years to express our gratitude. Yet we are called upon to do so even in the face of a pandemic that has broken many families. To be sure, we’ve known happier times. A posture of gratitude does not ask us to deny the difficulty of the times we are living in. It does however demand, that in spite of hardship, sorrow, and grief that we recognize the blessings in our lives.
Gratitude asks us to affirm the goodness of life even in the face of its current brokenness. Living in gratitude means we no longer take anything for granted. From the moment we awaken until day’s end we must recognize each aspect of the day for the gift that it is to us. Realistically, we most likely won’t have a grandiose plan that can enable us to fix all that’s broken in the world, but with compassion and kindness we can gratefully share the blessings of our lives with those whose lives are within our reach. In that way, every day becomes a day of giving thanks.
So, the month of November asks us and gives us the time to focus on two things: remembering and gratitude. Don’t let a day pass you by this month without practicing one or the other or both. Leave blessings in your wake as travel through your days.
From our hearts to yours,
Sharon, Pat, and I will be especially remembering those people who were scheduled to be here with us in the month of November. We miss you and want you to know that in spite of the distance, you remain an important part of our lives. We are grateful to you, and wish you a Happy Thanksgiving regardless of how the holiday unfolds in your lives.