Yesterday Canadians celebrated Thanksgiving. But I have mixed feelings about the meaning of the annual holiday and the role of gratitude in our lives today on planet earth.
Today, I’m playing devil’s advocate with questions and I would like your comments about Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving is supposed to be a time to express our gratitude. What about the thousands of people in Haiti killed from Hurricane Matthew? What about those that survived – so far? Cholera is a big shadow hanging over Haiti. What about those on the east coast of Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina and even up in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia that are victims of Hurricane Matthew?
Are the survivors grateful for losing family members, their homes, their cities and towns, their livelihood?
I am always flabbergasted and yes, troubled, when survivors of floods, winds, fires say “we’ve lost everything but we still have our family.” Are they suffering from shock and that’s their initial reaction? As they try to put their lives together, how many of them suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. You don’t go through all that and come out feeling good, feeling gratitude. In the long run, doesn’t it take it’s toll?
I can only speak from part observer – what I see on the news and weather network. My own personal experience (so far) with floods is a flooded basement (about four to six inches) from the main water drain backing up (the official diagnosis) in November 2005. That was devastating enough. If not for the help of my friend and next door neighbour, Alex, it could have been much worse. Right away when I banged on his and his now late wife, Tanya’s door, Alex came over with a super-charged Shopping Vac and cleaned out the flood. There was still aftermath to deal with – insurance people, drain company, restoration. I was so upset I refused to have anything done beyond the initial cleanup the restoration company did until the spring. My reason was with my allergies to many chemicals I didn’t want work done when windows couldn’t be opened in the winter. But now I wonder how much was shock.
My rec room looked like a war zone and the tiles in other rooms were broken. I moved all dry food stored downstairs up to the spare bedroom because I couldn’t bear to go down there. My trips downstairs were limited to getting food from the freezer and doing laundry. And I had to be careful going down the stairs to the basement because the steps were no longer cushioned by carpeting – that was all ripped up the day after – and that includes carpets in the foyer and hallway.
It is only a tiny experience of what those devastated by floods (or fires or winds) go through, but it gave me a taste of the reality in our world today.
No place is safe to live in.
So, I ask my question again, reworded somewhat.
Do you have anything to be thankful for? And if so, what?
And yes, I do have a few things to be thankful for, including my son and his girlfriend, my friends, my garden, my writing, and dare I say it my home? Fortunately or unfortunately I am stubborn and tenacious and I don’t take it lying down. I think that’s why I became a journalist too many years ago and while I no longer am a journalist, my writing – personal essays/memoir, this blog and my fiction – all deal with the bad in life. And I also yell a lot and try to make sense of what has no sense.
As Shakespeare wrote “Now is the winter of our discontent.”
Notice his choice of seasons.
Only Child Writes