Things seem to be still going wrong. This Thanksgiving, let’s focus on what isn’t wrong … and enjoy a sense of gratitude.
Many of us are vaccinated, and some of us are “boostered.” We were creative last year. We delivered meals through a briefly opened door and blew kisses through the windows. Some hearty souls had Thanksgiving celebrations outside, with generous physical distance. We did what needed doing.
Although we are managing day-to-day, we crave an exemption from COVID-19, at least for the Holidays. As nice as that sounds, it just isn’t the way it is. We would all like our freedoms restored. We don’t need the government to impose restrictions this time around. We know a lot more about the virus, but not everything. We do know how it’s transmitted. For those of you who can stand hearing it one more time… it’s passed by breathing, talking, laughing, singing, coughing, and being face-to-face unmasked (eating at the same table or in the same room). Rats.
My Sunday Globe sat unopened all day until most of it hit the recycling pile this morning. In my search for what’s not wrong, the news was the wrong place to go. Cultivating an attitude of “what’s not wrong” takes some effort. We aren’t wired that way. Somehow, inside, we secretly expect “right.”
If we are cut off in traffic, run into a rude person, get sick, or bounce a check, we tick off the “that went wrong” box. In truth, let’s consider that the ratio of right to wrong may be much closer to 100:1 than 1:100. The faucet still gives water, the lamp still provides light, and the car (usually) starts. But…the old adage, “if not for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all” still beckons.
In this season of my own life and work, where the disaster of COVID is a daily reality, it was timely for me to hear and listen to the invitation to consider “what’s not wrong.” What might I do to make this notion a mindset? I needed a visual, so I made a list of all the things that weren’t great, could be better, and were just flat-out difficult and wrong. That list was long. I felt worse, not better. After I recovered from that, I started the “not wrong” list. In the words of the GRINCH, it “started out low, and then it started to grow.”
I often use that visual as an example of when medical treatment takes a turn—zipping along in the passing lane or limping along in the breakdown lane. We move over. Changing lanes is an intentional move – a choice. So, as we come upon our second round of Holidays, a la mode, a la Covid, we have to choose our lane. Making accommodations and choices about how much risk we can (or should) expose ourselves or loved ones to is on the table (no pun intended).
I offer that the ultimate Thanksgiving experience is taking a deep dive into the attitude of gratitude. Celebrating the health and life of those we love, continuing to help those we can with what we have to offer, and continuing to fight the invisible enemy #1 with all that’s available in our toolbox. Perhaps your holiday will include a reduced gathering or more creative ways to be “together.” Nothing says “I love you” more than a shared pumpkin pie via Zoom.
However, you choose to celebrate, be mindful of what’s “not wrong,” and go from there. Happy Giving Thanks Day.