Thanksgiving 2020. There is so much to be thankful for as we get into the holidays, and yet it seems like every reason to be thankful is also accompanied with an “and yet” or a “+.” All of our wonderful traditions that bring us joy year in and year out are, this year, accompanied by acute stressors that we have to navigate together. Pandemic + economic uncertainty + system inequality + climate crisis + a raucous election season – and more. 2020 is a lot, that’s for sure.
So, this year is Thanksgiving+ for us in the Carey household. Thankful, “and yet.” And that’s just the way it’s going to have to be this year: doing our best to celebrate the goods, while being very cognizant of the bads that continue to cloud over us.
So here is my Thanksgiving+
I am thankful for my health and the health of my family, and yet I know that COVID cases are climbing in our community and our country – alarmingly so. I’m thankful for the recent good news on vaccines, but still shell-shocked at the devastation and uncertainty COVID has caused and is still causing.
I’m thankful for the leadership change in our government, and yet I’m saddened by the division, the systemic inequalities, the outright bigotry, and the political insulation that characterize our democracy currently.
I’m thankful for my job – my leadership team and colleagues who amaze me with their efforts every day – and yet I ache for friends and family that are facing hardships with the job market. I know financial security is not a given in this pandemic season (or any season, really), so I’m thankful for what I do have while also being sober about the prevailing economic uncertainty that accompanies us all today.
I’m super thankful for Dana, for being the best partner in life a man could ask for and for being the best mother for our boys – and yet I know it’s not easy juggling two strong-willed, active little boys (and a husband!) while also working and taking care of family responsibilities. You really are the best @mrsdanacarey.
I’m thankful for my boys who bring energy and smiles and hugs and laughter and fun to our household, and yet I worry intensely about their COVID risk, about quarantine’s effect on them, and about the general uncertainty associated with Hanes’ schooling due to the pandemic.
I’m thankful for our extended family who continue to show love and affection to our boys as well as strength and determination in their own lives as they battle the shifting sands of this pandemic year. And yet I know this year has been a hard year for our extended family. I just so admire our family for hanging in there in this season. You guys are so loved and admired from our end.
I’m thankful for our church that we started attending a year ago here in El Dorado Hills, and yet I know this year hasn’t been easy for church life. Church is complicated for Dana and I (as it is for most in our generation), but, in Rollings Hills, we found a church that proclaims the grace of God while constantly showing what love really looks like by working hard to meet needs within our community – and for that I’m super thankful.
And, lastly, I’m so thankful for our community of friends – and yet I know so many of us have had to deal with major life changes in the last year. Dana and I have the best collection of people that we get to call friends, but I know that 2020 has forced so many in our circle to make significant adjustments to their lives – or more, deal with harsh new realities that no one could have planned for.
In all, this Thanksgiving reminds me of a New Testament Scripture from my faith tradition that says:
“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited […] Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:12-16, 21 NIV, my emphasis added)
Thanksgiving+. Thankful, “and yet.”
We can rejoice and mourn together as we do our best to navigate the end of 2020. Just know that we send our prayers to you, your loved ones, and your colleagues for a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving.