Craft ~ brews and reviews
By Greg Richardson
A Different Kind of Thanksgiving
In the old days, before the pandemic,
November was a month about Thanksgiving.
This year we are having a different kind of
November which will include a different kind of Thanksgiving Day.
Many of us spent most of our time and
attention on what we were going to eat and the football we were
going to watch. A few of us, though, focused on gratitude.
I remember people who kept gratitude
journals during November. They intentionally chose one thing each
day of the whole month and tried to write about being grateful for
Other people tried to spend November
practicing 30 Days of Gratitude. They posted on various social media
each day describing their gratitude for the good things which filled
I have also written in the past about the
significant role beer has played in our Thanksgiving traditions,
even with the pilgrims from the Mayflower.
This year, in this November during the
pandemic, it is a challenge for me to practice gratitude. For many
of us this has been a year about frustration and loss.
Some of us lost jobs we had dreamed about
this year. We may have lost the money we had put away to save us
when times got bad. Many of us have lost our access to medical care
at exactly the time we fear we will need it more than every before.
We may have lost our hope for the future,
our belief life will ever be satisfying again.
More than all those things put together,
many of us have lost people we love. This has become a year of death
and mourning for us.
It will not be possible for me to make this
November, this Thanksgiving Day, like last year and the ones which
came before. If you are like me, this Thanksgiving will not be a day
of getting together with family and friends to share a meal.
The challenge for me this year is to find a
new and different kind of Thanksgiving.
It is not enough, in these times, for
November to be the threshold of the holiday shopping season. This
Thanksgiving we need more than a day to eat ourselves into food coma
and them rouse ourselves to get up and buy things.
This November and this Thanksgiving have the
potential to be deeper and more significant for us.
Some of us will find ways to spend our days
helping other people. I know people who help serve food in homeless
shelters and food kitchens each Thanksgiving. Those of us who are
able are making special contributions to assisting others.
For me this year has been overwhelming
because of the sheer number of people who have died. News agencies
keep running track of how many people have contracted the virus and
how many have died, in the United States and around the world.
People tell stories about the people they
love who have died alone because virus is so contagious. Some places
have struggled to keep up with the growing specter of death and
The number of deaths from the coronavirus
might overshadow those who have died from other causes. It is a
challenge to be attentive to life when there is so much dying in the
world around us.
We struggle to continue in the face of such
pain and loss. Being grateful seems beyond our abilities. How can we
sustain Thanksgiving and practice gratitude in a November like this
As I work to be open to spiritual life
within me, and in the world around me, I find it helpful to take
time and pay attention. Distracted by wave after wave of challenge
and difficult news, we need to find ways we can practice staying in
My practice this November is to recognize my
gratitude for people who are no longer here with me. I regularly set
aside time to remember the people who have taught me, influenced me,
and shaped my life.
It helps me to spend some time reflecting
and remembering, sorting out my gratitude for what each person has
given me. Slowing down, I take time to have a beer I think they
would have enjoyed sharing with me.
This November is not about drinking as much
beer as we can, nor about trying to recreate the way Thanksgiving
used to be. Each of us demonstrates our gratitude by remembering and
pausing to mark their passing.