As we reach mid-November, the pandemic has begun to soar once again, and even though our town looks beautifully like autumn, our spirits are tired and worried. This is the time for gathering our families together for Thanksgiving and Christmas, and sitting together by the warmth of the fire, reminiscing and enjoying being together. Right now, however, in our state, we are not allowed to gather more than ten people in our homes at one time. I had been looking forward to Thanksgiving at my son’s house with all of my children and grandchildren gathered together — with a fire in his woodstove, delicious food, too many conversations to keep track of, and the laughter of grandchildren of all ages. How disappointed I am that we are slowly coming to the conclusion that this not only exceeds the limits set by our governor, but also carries the possibility of infecting us with the virus.
This virus is a sneaky one — sometimes people can be spreading the virus without even knowing they are sick. For some people, it is as simple as a light cold, while others linger in ICU beds and die long, slow deaths. We have no way of knowing on Thanksgiving day if one of us is harboring the virus. We must make a very difficult decision. Do we go ahead with our holiday plans and risk the possibility of serious illness, or do we err on the side of caution and miss being together on this holiday which, to many of us, is the beginning of the Christmas season. There is no easy answer to this dilemna. Each family must make the decision they feel is right for them.
It is cloudy this afternoon, and the wind blows the few leaves that are left on the trees, the birds gather around their feeders, children are laughing as they play outside in the beauty that is autumn. And yet, in hospitals all across the land, there are virus patients fighting for their next breath, and nurses and doctors who are exhausted from their long hours each day caring for their patients. It is almost as if we live in two different worlds — the lovely world of the healthy, and the terrifying world of those with serious cases of Covid.
And so, this Thanksgiving will be unlike other Thanksgivings. Will my family be gathered together, or will we decide it is not worth taking the chance. We are all tired of this virus, tired of wearing masks, and distancing ourselves from others. Sometimes I don’t even recognize my own friends with their masks on. What a weird world we have lived in these long months. What a sad world. As we say Grace at Thanksgiving dinner, we should add a blessing for all of those who are suffering or who have been lost to this terrible illness.
This will pass, as all tragedies do, but I think each one of us will have a new appreciation for life — for the ability to once again be able to hug our friends, to gather closely around a table and eat together, to put away the hand sanitizer and the masks — to once again feel free.
May the Lord bless us all on this Thanksgiving!!