Given as I am to understatement, I’m finding this to be an unusual Thanksgiving. We’ve spent more time in the past week or so thinking and talking about just how we might maintain the warmth and love of this time than we have creating the shopping lists for the “Big Meal”. One of the things that I’ve noticed is that I’m spending far more time than usual actually thinking about the things I should be thankful for.
Cloistered away in our home (and actually thinking about being thankful that we have a home), I realized how often in my life I let the preparations for the celebration overshadow the meaning of the celebration. Today, I was working on a post for next week and, at some point (God only knows how long it was before I realized that I “had gone away”), I returned to the present. Still recovering from my mental detour, I realized I had been thinking of Thanksgiving, but not about the missed family gathering or the annual carving disaster. I realized that I had been thinking of people… people who have blessed my life with their presence. People that might not know how much I’ve appreciated the gifts they’ve shared with me.
I thought of how many Thanksgiving dinners I’ve shared with others. I thought of the blessing that we offer before trying to remember in which direction we should start passing the many dishes. I realized that I couldn’t recall a dinner in which we each took the time to share with those around the table why we are blessed by their presence in our lives. I know that Thanksgiving is not a holiday we normally associate with resolutions but I resolved not to let another year pass without telling those around me how much their presence means to me… how important they are. It’ll work this year. We only have a few people around the table and I love them all!
Patting myself on the back for being such a sensitive, caring soul (even if it took me over 6 decades to wake up), it dawned on me that, more than usual, we are , in this time of COVID, surrounded by examples of people doing things for us that we should be thankful for. People who are often invisible to us as they deliver the mail, who pick up our trash and recyclables, people whose job makes it difficult to safely social distance, people who risk their lives and the lives of their families by continuing to care for us.
As we approach this special day, I want to offer a special thank you to all those educators who are working at home and in our schools trying to offer our children a safe way to learn in times they have never prepared for. I spent over 25 years in the classroom. I spent additional time as an administrator. While I had to make an occasional decision about whether or not to close school due to snow, never was I faced with the need to make potentially life and death decisions on an almost daily basis. Never was I asked I asked to offer learning experiences to kids I could not see and who couldn’t see me. Never was I asked to forget almost all I had learned about teaching and implement a whole new way of teaching that might change on weekly basis.
You will be mentioned in our Thanksgiving prayer. Thank you.
Thank you Rich, for all that you have done for me both professionally and personally in shaping and providing clarity for what matters most as an educator and fellow citizen! Wishing you and your family the very best Thanksgiving!