Thanksgiving Card

Photo courtesy of Katya Wolf from Pexels.

Recently, as per the season, I’ve been reflecting on what I have to be thankful for in this crazy day and age that we’re living in.

Though this year has been fraught with so much, this time provides the perfect moment to step back and analyze for what we should all be grateful. From the throes of a global pandemic to domestic unrest, many have been stranded with meager means or without loved ones this year. But while we have lost, we must remember what we have.

Yes, mourn the world that we lost where in crowded areas the biggest fear was claustrophobia, but keep an eye on the future. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel. We’re moving toward an open world, though at a slow pace.

This alone is enough to rejoice. Remember waking up five minutes before class and rolling on to a black screen Zoom? While that had its perks, the holed-up mentality of last year is finally loosening its grip.

Places are opening, restaurants and cinemas are back to the business of keeping us well fed and entertained. That feeling of the theater dimming as trailers are projected on screen or sitting down to a good meal with company other than the people you were locked up with has returned.

Of course, it’s important to acknowledge that many businesses sadly failed during the pandemic, and many people were affected financially throughout its course.

Sympathy and kindness must be at the forefront of what we think about when enjoying our newly renovated society.

In a roundabout way, COVID-19 allowed for people to truly reach new heights
in the way we treat people. The pandemic was one of few occurrences in the course of human history that has been felt by everyone, and in that sense, it brought people together even though we were physically separate.

The vast human capability for care and kindness was demonstrated by each person choosing to do the best for their community and loved ones. Whether from businesses taking action by modifying to fit changing regulations or from everyday folks wearing masks and trying to social distance, we have all wrought the present in which we now live.

And this is something to be immensely thankful for. We can do more than go on walks and congregate in small numbers outside, and the threat to the health and safety of our families has greatly diminished thanks to the vaccine.

The year of 2021 saw a rocky start and continues to march through new trials each day, but we can hope for the future once again. From this vantage point we can say thank you for the friends and family we have and can gather to ourselves for this holiday season. Not everyone is as fortunate to wake up on Thanksgiving morning with the people they miss, but if you are, then it is your duty to truly be grateful for that luxury.

This year had untold pains and sorrows, but what can we learn from the lives we’ve led?

We’ve learned to hope, to pick ourselves up and, most of all, to help one another through the struggles each of us has labored through. Why not say thank you for all the people who carried us through the emotional roller coaster that was 2021?

As we move further through this year, that same spirit of thankfulness should carry on with us. Each day presents new gifts as well as challenges. With each new moment there lies a potential for happiness, whether that be your own or someone else’s. Be a person that someone says “thank you” for on Nov. 25, because you certainly have people to thank.

So, as the season of gratitude falls upon us, remember this, the trials of 2021 have left us with enough for which to smile and say “thank you” for.

Dawson Neely is the opinion editor. Follow him on Twitter: @DawsonNeely. 

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