Thanksgiving in Times of Adversity

It is a difficult time for so many. The world is hurting. Everywhere I look there seem to be people struggling, huge systemic problems, and injustices.

Today it is Thanksgiving in Canada, even if it doesn’t feel or look like it. And I’m not going to lie this year it is much harder and more complicated than usual for me to feel thankful, it is truly like none other yet in my life.

I am angry at the inequity everywhere. I am sad at the pain and suffering of so many people in the world, in my own country. I am frustrated that this pandemic is not over yet and that I, like others all over the world, can’t be with my family today. And while I certainly don’t have the same struggles as many other’s, and I am lucky to have what I need, I have been dealing with personal struggles a lot during this time and it hasn’t been easy.

People are grieving lost loved one’s, people are unemployed, and people are worried about their basic needs and what their future will look like.

And yet, here we find ourselves at Thanksgiving. What do we do with all of this? How do we reconcile these seemingly two opposing feelings.

I think we have to find a way to honor both: the grief, the truly difficult painful things, and the good that still exists and that we are grateful for. Not to make it sound like a silver lining, but crisis and life changing situations do have a way of changing our perception of gratitude and the things that we are grateful for.

Maybe this year we don’t actually have less gratitude but our gratitude shifts and is found in different places. I don’t say this to dismiss the awful things that are happening everywhere in fact, I am saying it is these horrible things that are allowing a deeper sense of gratitude to be realized. Grief can be a vehicle for thanksgiving it just might not be the one we are used to, or even the one we want.

This year I am grateful.

I am grateful to be navigating this challenging situation with my best friend and life partner, my husband. I am grateful to spend every day with my three fur-kids (Holly, Imp, & Juniper) who keep me on my toes but also give me snuggles when I really need them. I am grateful to my family, even though we can’t be together, I’ve felt their support throughout this crisis across the distance. I am grateful to essential workers, those working long hours to keep us safe, and everyone just getting through this dark time.

I am also thankful for this growing community and this platform. Reading comments, messages, and emails from you that you are enjoying what I’m writing but also hearing that what I am writing is helping you in these difficult times is incredible and inspiring. So, thank you for following along on this written journey. I say that a lot, but it really is a journey and I really am thankful that you are here sharing it with me.

It has been challenging, but mostly very rewarding building this website, writing these posts, growing this community, and sharing my experiences and thoughts with the world. The experience is continuing to push me to learn new things and to grow but also helping me to have confidence in my own capabilities. I am deeply thankful for that too.

This year we realize the things we maybe thought were simple or small are actually the big things in life: a warm house, our health, the health of our loved ones, food on the table, time spent with the ones we love (even if it is virtual), the sun rising in the sky each morning, and the beauty of the changing leaves.

If you are feeling like you are rejecting the message of Thanksgiving this year, I understand and have felt that too, but I challenge you to try anyway. If you are struggling this Thanksgiving my thoughts, love, and prayers go out to you. I hope that you are able to find the small sources of gratitude however hidden they might be and I hope that they bring you feelings of comfort and peace.

From my home to yours, happy Thanksgiving.

Write soon,

Hannah B.L.

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