Pies and Prayers

Thanksgiving is tomorrow. It is, without a doubt, my favorite holiday…which I’ve written about before, for the blog at work. There’s not much I can add on top of that, as I think it perfectly sums up how I feel about the holiday.

BJ and Neenah - 2006

BJ and Neenah, at Thanksgiving in 2006

I am at a bit of a loss this year, though, as I stand here the day before Thanksgiving. The past few months have been difficult for my family, with a few unexpected losses, and the normal struggles of day-to-day life added on top of that. I know the holiday season stretching from Thanksgiving to New Years can be tough for a lot of people, and I feel like this year is going to be more trying for a number of people I know. I worry for them all, knowing that depression is an insidious foe, that burrows into your heart and your mind and does its damnedest to hold on. Knowing there are no easy solutions and that people often hide their hardest inner struggles makes me worry more.

And that worry doesn’t stop there. I worry about the sadness and the darkness and the hatred I see on the news every

Thanksgiving 2006 - you can only see a portion of the typical craziness.

Thanksgiving 2006 – you can only see a portion of the typical craziness.

day. I worry about the intolerance that shows up, unexpected, on my Facebook feed – divisions of “us and them” that come from people I thought I knew and who I thought shared a desire to welcome and love and accept everyone in this world, regardless of differences of opinion. I don’t stop loving those people, even when the hatred appears in those posts, but my heart breaks a little each time I read those words, and it proves that love is hard sometimes and that it is something we have to work on, each day.

In the midst of all that worry and grief and stress, there come flashes of hope and inspiration and proof that we are not alone in our struggle.

Earlier today, I came across an article about a letter written in response to what has come to light at UVA. While it was written in response to a very specific event, the words and sentiment speak to more than just one situation, in one town. They resonate with all that is going on around us, whether it be war and conflict, protests, sexual assaults, or grieving the loss of a loved one. I read these words these morning and cried because of the beauty and the hope contained within them:

We are adrift. We have faced tragedy upon tragedy. We have been asked to contend with the inexplicable, with the horrendous, and with the deeply unfair. We are adrift—yet we drift together.

Together, we share in the small solace of company, and we share in the ache of our sadness, and in the light of our hope that things will be better. We share in our anger and in our concern, but—what’s more—we share in the belief that our community can and must evolve.

In times like these, we stand together. We say to each other: I am your support, just as you are mine. Today, and every day, may we stand emboldened by our capacity for love and inspired by our faith in what we can be, what we must be, what we will be. Though our path forward is unclear, we know that it is a path that we must go down together. All of us.

We find ourselves adrift, yet we drift together. Afraid, angry, confused, unsteady, uneasy, unsure —but together.

I hope if you, too, find yourself struggling right now – financially, emotionally, physically – you will find comfort and solace in the knowledge that you are not, in the end, alone. Our grief and our rage and our hopelessness can seem overwhelming, but we can help each other through it. None of us walks completely alone in this world, even though it often feels like it. Sometimes we just can’t see the people beside us.

Note the Trivial Pursuit on the floor.

Note the Trivial Pursuit on the floor.

Tonight and tomorrow, I will be making the pies for Thanksgiving, as I have been doing for several years. And, as I always do, I will be pouring my love and thankfulness into them, along with my hopes for better tomorrows. I know it’s “uncool” to talk about one’s faith, and I in no way want to push my beliefs on others…but tomorrow evening, before we eat, I’ll be saying a prayer, thankful for the abundance before us, for the love around us, and for the strength to move out into the world, bringing what hope and love we can, and doing my best to make a difference for the better. I hope you will not mind when I include you all in my prayer.

Regardless of where you’ll be tomorrow – driving to dinner, sitting in your own house, stuck in an airport, on your own or with family/friends or wishing you were somewhere else – know that you are loved, and that you are appreciated, that someone is thankful you are here, and that there is a place for you in my heart and at my table.

Happy Thanksgiving.

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