Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Day Musings

I spent an hour in bed this morning, looking out the window from the bedroom, watching the trees and plants dance from the increasing north wind.  I also spent that hour thinking of my mother, on this her favorite of holidays, and on my first Thanksgiving without her.  I am thankful.  Thankful for the years, thankful for her being gone now, thankful for all that I am because of who she was.  No melancholy, just quietness.  A good time.

Because I wasn't sure just how this day would affect me, I chose to spend it quietly.  Keith is fixing us a lovely meal.  I brought in the plants that are not freeze tolerant and have placed them around the house for the winter months.  I do wonder how many of them have toads living in their dirt.  It wouldn't be the first time that one has popped out later.  Always a bit startling, but nothing I can't live with.

Keith and I had originally planned to spend the morning re-doing the vegetable beds in the back yard, but both independently decided a day spent in a warm house was preferable.  We are definitely getting older!

And I have now managed to do most of my Christmas shopping, a very unplanned event.  Checked email as usual, noticed that Amazon was doing some specials for the day, saw some toys on there that I think my grandchildren would like, and managed to get most of what I wanted.  These specials are good only for a short period of time--nice marketing technique to keep someone on their site. Also very nice for me since I really don't actually enjoy shopping but did want to get something for the grandchildren.

All this brings up the usual bemoaning of the church about the commercialization of the holidays.  I admit to being somewhat troubled by so many department stores opening either later today or very early tomorrow.  I'm not troubled by the chance to shop; I'm troubled by the fact that a lot of employees who might have enjoyed a few unhurried hours with family will now not be able to do so.  Of course, in this economy, it also means a larger paycheck, perhaps.  

I was thinking today about how many different types of people must work on these holidays.  Yesterday, I went to the hospital to visit one of my church members.  Parking lot was full--illness just doesn't take a vacation.  And although the grocery store, where I also made a stop, was packed yesterday, I know many if not all grocery stores are also open today just in case, although I think some will close for the evening.  Law enforcement, fire-fighters, homeless shelters, domestic violence shelters, gas stations--all these are staffed and open on this day and on other holidays that most get off. 

It's one of those days when I wonder if we wouldn't be better off to go back to "blue laws" not for the sake of the church, but for the sake of humanity.  It really wouldn't kill us not to be able to shop one day a week.  Really.  How many of us would actually go hungry if we had to each just what is in our pantries that one day?  What would it hurt just to be home or outside hanging out with neighbors for the day?  But even as I write this, I know I'm thinking primarily of middle-class America.  What about people who live in packed-out and run-down housing projects?  Forcing people to stay home is not a particularly good option.  It has never worked, as far as I can tell from history, to legislate social morality.  People will always look for, and always find, the loopholes.

There was a period of time when the celebration of Christmas was outlawed in the colonies.  People celebrated anyway.  Thank goodness. As far as I can find, it has never been celebrated exactly as the religious authorities think it should be.  I find that as I mellow a bit, I like that.  I'm not sure those of us who call ourselves "religious authorities" actually know all that much about the mind of God or know how exactly how we are supposed to acknowledge God's intervention in the world. Very much a mystery, and one worth exploring. But, having written then, I know that people who are sure they do know the mind of God will very much disagree with me and just write me off as the typical female, deceived heretic.  Oh well.  It's Thanksgiving, and I can give thanks for that.

Meal nearly ready.  Table set with the lovely stuff.  My stomach in growling in anticipation.  The temperature is still above freezing outside, but not by much.  The house is warm and comfortable.  I am extraordinarily grateful.

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