Thanksgiving’s Starting A Little Early This Year*

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Earlier tonight I was driving home in the dark and the rain; I was also pretty tired. Tense as I always am under those conditions, I felt myself starting to relax only as I got closer to home.

A couple of blocks from my house, I stopped for a red light and although I could have done a right-on-red, decided to play it cautious—because I worried a bicyclist might cruise past I wouldn’t be able to see. But when the light turned green I assumed that no bicyclist, not even the most reckless, no-helmut-no-lights and clueless, would dare to run a red light on such a night. My foot on the accelerator and ready to go, something caught my eye through the lower, left-hand corner of my rain-splattered windshield: a young woman dressed in entirely in black and shielded by a huge umbrella who’d decided to cross the street against the pedestrian cross-walk sign. And right in front of me. As she passed my headlights she gave me this hangdog, apologetic, please-don’t hate-me look. And then disappeared back into the darkness.

I don’t hate her. I just marvel I didn’t hit her. Home, now, registering how tired I am and how likely it might have been that, so close to home, I could have completely let down my guard, it seems a miracle I saw her. Phew!

So: the Sunday night before Thanksgiving, I begin this holiday week with a heightened sense of gratitude. (What’s the difference between gratitude and thankfulness? Anyone? Anyone?) Which, tonight I take to mean: Don’t take anything for granted. Anything! Clean drinking water. Seat belts. Being able to vote. Toilet paper.

“What about the main thing in life, all its riddles? If you want, I’ll spell it out for you right now. Do not pursue what is illusionary -property and position: all that is gained at the expense of your nerves decade after decade, and is confiscated in one fell night. Live with a steady superiority over life -don’t be afraid of misfortune, and do not yearn for happiness; it is, after all, all the same: the bitter doesn’t last forever, and the sweet never fills the cup to overflowing. It is enough if you don’t freeze in the cold and if thirst and hunger don’t claw at your insides. If your back isn’t broken, if your feet can walk, if both arms can bend, if both eyes can see, if both ears hear, then whom should you envy? And why? Our envy of others devours us most of all. Rub your eyes and purify your heart -and prize above all else in the world those who love you and who wish you well. Do not hurt them or scold them, and never part from any of them in anger; after all, you simply do not know: it may be your last act before your arrest, and that will be how you are imprinted on their memory.”
― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956

 

*I’m posting early, too!

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1 Comment

  1. Dear Patricia,

    Happy So Full Of Overflowing Bountiful Blessings to you my so, so very dearly special and dearly precious friend and sister who you are For Always so, so very much, Patricia, to your dearest and darling husband, to all of your very special, precious and beloved family and friends, and to your blessedly so pure in heart friendsfamily at your absolutely amazing Friends Meeting at Cambridge!!!!!! I am just so very thankful for you, my so very dear friend, Patricia, and how you have been so very graciously and generously open to me and all of my so open sharings here on your absolutely fantastic, insightfully inspirational and enlightening blog which has so, so very much inspired, uplifted, and blessed me so in such a greatly immense manner, sister!!!!!! I pray for and think of all of you daily and often, keeping each and every one of you covered in my lovingly caring and sensitively heartfelt daily and frequent prayers and thoughts, and sending positive energy all of your way, sisterfriend!!!!!! Yay for each and every one of you, Patricia!!!!!! Yay!!!!!!!

    Sister, it is a marvel that you didn’t hit her with how she was being so reckless, sister!!!!!! Whew!!!!!! This must have been petrifying, Patricia! Miracles do very much indeed happy, my friend!!!!!!!

    My so, so very dearest friend, as I try to think of the difference between gratitude and thankfulness, I think there might be a subtle difference. Gratitude could be the very feeling of being grateful with such appreciation for all of our Spirit’s Bountiful Blessings. Thankfulness could be the very act and expression of showing and expressing that appreciative gratitude for all of our Good God Spirit’s Bountiful Blessings. You are so right on here, sister, about not taking anyone or anything for granted. What all of your very wise words you have so, so very graciously and generously declared here in this very insightfully inspirational and blessedly uplifting blog post article, sister!!!!!!! I so love the picture which you have featured here! What blessings we all have as women, blacks and other persons of color having now the very right to vote, sister! I so, so very much love and like The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956 by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn which so perfectly complements your beautiful blog post article, sisterfriend!

    I’m not only thankful at Thanksgiving time, Patricia, but I am thankful every day for our So Very Dearest Darling and Loving, Sweet, Caring, and Powerful Mother and Father God and all of the Very Bountiful Blessings our So Good and Great God bestows upon me and each and every one of us, for being a Christian, for being an American in our very special, precious, and beloved country, and for all of you my so, so very dearest and darling sisterfriends and brothers as our Good God’s children. I am so very blessed and grateful to be a rejoicing and proud Christian lesbian black woman, Patricia. I am just so very grateful and appreciative by the very joy and blessing of you, my so very dearest friend and sister, and it has been so good for me to open up more and share what’s on my very heart!!!!!!! I thank-you so, so very much and so, so very profusely For Always, Patricia, straight from the very bottom of my very heart from the very deepest depths of my very heart, and my very heart, soul, mind, and spirit For Always, my precious friendsister!!!!!!! Thank-you!!!!!! I am so grateful and blessed as well by my other white sisterfriends who I also so, so very much love and cherish, and who are my family of choice. and my very heart!!!!!!!!! I so love and cherish also my very heart and friendsfamily at my beloved church where I live in Iowa City, Iowa where I have been a rejoicing and proud member for decades at my Faith United Church of Christ. I am so incredibly blessed and grateful for my very many, many friends from all of my very, very many 12-Step Program meetings, and for being in my various recoveries and healing for some very many, many years, sisterfriend!!!!!!!! I am just so very blessed, grateful, and appreciative with so, so very many, many friends like you, Patricia, everywhere both near and far!!!!!!! I have so, so much blessings that I could go on and on forever, Patricia!!!!!! I, too, say, Praise be!!!!!!!!, Patricia!!!!!!! Yay!!!!!!!!

    I pray, wish, and hope for you and yours, Patricia, a Very Happy Blessed So Full of Bountiful Blessings Thanksgiving, a totally terrific and a very thrilling Tuesday, a wondrously wonderful rest of your week and weekend, and may all of your days be so, so very especially blessed, my friend!!!!!!!

    Very Warmly and Sincerely For Always, my so very dear white sisterfriend, Patricia, with Peace and Love To You For Always, my so very precious white sister, with Blessings and Even More Blessings To You For Always, my friend,

    Your Christian lesbian black friend and sister in the spirit and solidarity For Always, Sherry Gordon

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