Happy Thanksgiving everyone,
It has been quite a different kind of year, and reflecting on it in the spirit of Thanksgiving is very important. One can hardly make an account for what this year has been worldwide.
The Australian wild fires. The States, India, , Russia, most countries in South America, Spain, South Africa, just to name those who have had over half a million reported Covid cases. Tensions with Iran. Civil unrest at a level not seen in decades, on racism in North America.
Borders closed. Isolation as the new normal. Terrible economic struggles from a global scale, over to the very personal struggles of job and business loss in our communities. And the unimaginable trauma and tragedy of the mass shootings here in N.S.
The losses so many Nova Scotians experienced as Covid unfolded, in senior care facilities, hospitals, and the far less known number of people who have been affected by isolation, mental illness, domestic violence, and the struggle to afford just basic needs (shelter and food). The experience of separation. The even more dire warnings and countdown regarding our global climate change crisis (which hardly went away just because during lockdown we could hear more birds and less traffic).
Take a breath.
It is no wonder, when faced with a giant storm named Teddy, many of us took precautions but social media comically portrayed it as, “a hurricane … meh.”
With no sense of returning to normal any time soon (and hopefully some things will not return), many of us have embraced something essential; recovered a sense of thankfulness that has the potential to truly change many things in us, and the world.
I am deeply thankful for a new sense of minimalism. Without consumerism at the center of our lives and economy (for a few months at least) many are embracing a major shift away from accumulation and “having,” toward empathically understanding and reaching out to each other. A day is measured by who we were able to connect with, talk to, even just see! Not by ambition, success, etc. It is a wholly different kind of prioritizing in our lives.
I am so thankful for a shift in awareness. By being aware of everyone from our neighbours, to people around the world we will never meet, as each country and community around the entire planet struggles … our awareness itself has shifted from the prevalent modern mantra of “me” to a deep awareness of “us.” There are no more powerful bonds between human beings than sharing our suffering, and sharing our love. We have certainly been sharing those.
I am thankful for the way we are able to care for, protect and reach out to each other. It is the very core of our Christian values. And it has become the center of human effort around the world. That is inspiring.
These are not utopian values, and we don’t live in a dream land when we give thanks for the good we see. They are affirmations of what matters most. Our awareness of one another. Our priority to live responsibly instead of as ravenous consumers. And a culture of caring and staying connected in the midst of isolation, separation and valid fear.
Let us give thanks for who we seek to be in 2020, and who God calls us to be as we continue.
The Rev’d Mark Pretty