We can still be thankful regardless of 2020

There may be fewer people around our collective Thanksgiving tables this year. The holiday may be less than celebatory in the time of a pandemic yet we have to find the resolve to be thankful.Take away politics, financial hardships, COVID and what have we got? 

We have the beauty of family and friends we love. We have natural beauty all around us. We have the adorable hijinks of our dogs and the yawning non-chalance of our couldn’t-care-less cats.

The people in our lives are the ones who make our lives. What would any of us be without the love and support of family? They may not be sitting across the holiday table but they will be there in our hearts and minds. As social beings it is hard to forgo the gatherings we cherish, but there are ways to connect—as we have been doing during COVID—phone, Zoom, Facetime, etc. The key is to connect with the ones we love.

We live in a spectacular part of the world. Visitors to Oregon proclaim that we live in God’s country. We do and we’re thankful for that. Natural beauty is just one of the many reasons we are thankful to call Oregon home. This time of year I am mesmerized by the geese flying over my house. I realize they are much less of a nuisance when they are in the air. I am intrigued by the birds and wonder why two birds often fly by themselves as opposed to with the rest of the flock. It did my heart good when I observed a young woman watching the flying geese with her child. They were enjoying nature. That’s something to be thankful for.

My pets don’t care that a holiday is coming up. Oh, they care when a piece of turkey finds its way to the floor. And they do care when there are shiny things to play with hanging from a Christmas tree, othewise the holidays elicits little more response than rearranging their sleeping positions.

The annus horribilis that is 2020 offered plenty of reasons to be frustrated, angry, scared and depressed. I don’t have control over many things that happen in the world, but I can control how I react to them. I will look forward with positivity and grit.

I look forward to Christmas when my brothers in California and I carry on a new tradition: the one dollar gift exhange. We give each other 10 gifts that cost $1 each and one gift valued at no more than $5. After several years it becomes exceedingly challenging to find that many gifts; you find youself repeating yourself. 

Baking of potica, a Slavic walnut roll bread we grew up enjoying every Thanksgiving and Christmas has fallen to me. My kitchen may be a disaster when I’ve finished but the love emanating from the stove is unmistakable.

It may not seem like it, but the world offers things to be thankful for. As the song goes, what a wonderful world. Being thankful in 2020 isn’t as hard as one may think. You have to look in the right place.

 (Lyndon Zaitz is publisher of the Keizertimes.)