Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Days gone by...

I learned yesterday afternoon that next week is Thanksgiving.  I was truly surprised.  I mean, we just had the election.  How in the world could it be Thanksgiving?

I admit that I do not look forward to that holiday.  For many years now, I have not been with family.  Mostly, I spend the day alone, watching my beloved football.  I have several times been invited to be with others.  A few times I have gone.  However, going is hard for me.  It is hard to see families all gathered together and to be the outsider ... the outlier actually.  It is also hard to contrast the meals with the family Thanksgivings I have had in the past.  Alcohol can really destroy a holiday/family gathering.  So, too, can agendas and expectations and demands for other people to do and be as you believe they should do and be rather than to simply savor the time you have with them.

A while ago, I learned about absolutes.  When a person says, "You always..." a) it is not the truth because no one is always a particular way and b) it is a criticism if not and outright attempt to bully the other person or to foment a fight.  Once, with my best friend, I experienced a Thanksgiving where some were dressed up and some were not.  Some brought their own food (personal preferences) and some did not.  Some helped and some lounged around.  No agendas or expectations or demands were made.  People were simply together, enjoying a chance to be together and, of course, to stuff themselves with tasty food.

I suppose, too, a bit of what has colored my thinking about Thanksgiving is how artificial the holiday is.  I mean, some people blog about or make Facebook posts about the things for which they are thankful.  Only, why not post them every month, every week, or every day?

Then, too, is the history of the holiday.  Sure, the newcomers to America were thankful to be rescued by generous Native Americans willing to share of their bounty.  And then ... well ...those newcomers systematically began to pillage and plunder from the very ones who saved them.  Our history is an ugly one.

We are sinners, of course, whether or not that state of being is recognized by all.  There is no inherent good in others.  And humanity is quite good about pillaging and plundering, about taking and stealing.  Just as with the storm Sandy, some liked to point out the "indomitable American spirit" where people come together and help.  Only the other part of that American spirit are folk who come to steal and scam, once again pillaging and plundering.  We saw it with Hurricane Katrina.  In truth, we saw it when we built our new country not only but stealing and scamming Native Americans, but stealing and torturing and subjugating to slavery Africans.  Oh, but that is the past, you say.  Well, in World War Two, we also set about pillaging and plundering Japanese Americans ... probably one of the best kept secrets today.  Who, after all, is as well versed in the Japanese internment as in our slave history?

I suppose it is this combination of years of a sort of fake Thanksgiving and the knowledge of what Native Americans suffered after that first Thanksgiving ... suffer to this day ... makes it a holiday for which I care not much.  Except for the turkey.  Being alone, I miss the opportunity for turkey and gravy.  LOTS of gravy.

But perhaps the real reason is that I am someone, now, who truly had no idea Thanksgiving was/is next week.  Days slip by unnoticed, as I struggle to endure the pillaging and plundering of illness that is taking place in my body.  To get to my appointment where I learned of the holiday's nearness, I literally shouted cuss words against the agony of sitting in my car.  I lay down the entire time and had to be helped back up off the couch.  The trip home was equally miserable, as had been the day before.  Bending my mid-section is not always an option these days.

And, as I have bewailed in the past, I am fairly graceless and rather frightened when things are particularly bad.  For me, it is nigh unto impossible to see past the moment.  Knowing that, who in their right might would want to be with me on a holiday such as Thanksgiving?

I do not like how many absent posts are on my blog this year. I do not like how day and day, week after week, have gone by without capturing them for my failing memory.  And, more importantly, using this place to take the good things and the bad things and set them outside myself.  I reach out for the tiniest bits of perspective.  After all, I do not wish to be grumpy or frightened or despairing or confused.  If I am going to be my primary company, I would like to be a bit more gracious and courage.


Learning the theology of the cross, living it, grasping that in my weakness His faith is perfected in me, through me, for me ... is so very challenging.  A steep learning curve to be sure.

Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief!

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