Thanksgiving 2012

Day after tomorrow is thanksgiving .  How odd that my ipad doesn’t automatically capitalize that word.  Oh, well.  I guess I should just be thankful I can afford the ipad.

Besides, maybe the ipad knows better than I how the word’s supposed to be capitalized.  It usually spells better than I do-although it has a tendency to use the wrong word altogether, sometimes.  Like when it typed “we’ll” instead of “well” just then.

And, of course, its default is to assume I want its suggestion unless I intercede by clicking on the (incorrect) suggestion-taking my hand and eyes off the keyboard.

Thanksgiving and Christmas are tough holidays for those of us without family, close friends, or who are just in difficult circumstances for whatever reasons.  Being Christian I can’t speak for other holidays associated with the winter solstice, but I suspect the same is true of them as well.  And the circumstances are much more difficult when lack of money is also a factor.

In fact, when you lack money, that can be the major factor in the depressing nature of the holidays.  Probably is, as much as anything.  Americans are the wealthiest people in the world (save the Swedish, or something), so we have every reason to be thankful.  And I am.

But, wait a minute, that analysis doesn’t really square with the reality I’ve always known.  The poor who have good friends and close family are, if anything, happier than even the richest people I’ve known.  And, although I don’t know that I’ve actually known  anyone from the truly filthy rich, I’ve never had any trouble imaging them to be wretched human beings as a general rule.  Certainly so for the rich that didn’t start out that way.

If that generalization has any merit, other than as some sort of self-defense mechanism, then there is nothing to envy in their circumstance.

Support systems are what matter most.

If thanksgiving and Christmas are to be meaningful, let’s do all we can to support one another through them.  Invite your friends without family to your family gatherings.  Volunteer at a food bank.  Give away something you still value to someone who has much less than you, not because you could easily be in their place, despite that being truer than you wish to admit (yet very unlikely).  Rather, instead, because helping one another is what makes a society work, and being part of a working society is more valuable than all the wealth in the world.

It’s almost certainly too late now for Thanksgiving, but there’s still the holidays around the solstice period this year.  While you’re at it, why not put an electronic reminder on your calendar for unlimited repetition early enough before these holidays so that you never find  yourself again in the place of seeing a holiday approaching and realizing that someone you care about is going to have to endure it alone.  Let’s value and nuture community.

Hoping your holiday season is happy,

George

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