A 2020 Thanksgiving post

Well, it’s that day of the year again, at least where I live. Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

I want to keep this brief, because I’m sure you all have better things to do than read my blog, like spending time with family. But hey, if you are one of those unfortunate people who is alone today, just know that someone does care about you, God loves you, and this will get better if you rely on Him.

2020 has been one heck of a year to be glad about anything in, but I do have a list of things to be happy about.

  1. The Oh Hellos dropped two new EPs this year after like 2 years of nothing, that was awesome.
  2. I made some new friends.
  3. I hung out with old friends, got to know them better, and stayed in touch with others.
  4. I have now had a whole year without my abusive father in my life, and while that’s had its ups and downs, I am still grateful for the freedom.
  5. I read some good books, saw some great movies, and discovered some cool shows with my siblings.
  6. I spent more time with my cousins than I ever have.
  7. I survived.

Strangely, with as miserable as I have been, that number 4 makes me think, would I trade all the suffering of this year for another year with my dad in my life, the way it was?

The answer is a resounding NO! and that is pretty telling. I have had times I wanted to die this year, but I wouldn’t trade that for living with him again.

It sounds terrible, doesn’t it, but, I think of it like this: Living with a toxic person is just that, toxic, all the pain I went through because of that that person is at least flushing out that toxin, reintroducing it would defeat the entire point and render my suffering null and void.

We may hate to suffer, but we crave knowing it has a purpose and meaning, and if that is threatened, we sink into much deeper despair. That is one reason Christians and other theists weather suffering better overall, we believe it has a reason.

And I hope that is encouraging for someone, COVID happened, riots struck, Biden won, (which even democrats are not universally happy about, and republicans are furious); and it’s one thing after another. Maybe no one expected anything good to happen this year anyway, people can be real pessimistic.

But the Bible says God sends good times and bad times, He sends rain on the wicked and the just. And He uses all this for His purpose. We cannot stop Him, whether we be a king or a convict or a pauper.

I am glad my fate is not in the hands of my government, it’d be a scary prospect. I am glad it is not in my own hands, I am glad it’s not in the hands of any human being or organization.

You ever notice you can be glad without feeling glad? Gladness is a state of mind. Just like you can be sour on life without feeling particuallry sad.

My dad, who probaly has BPD, would be unhappy even when he felt happy. I’ve been there too. Determined to spoil it by thinking of all that could go worng and if the slightest thing did, his happy vibe would blow away like smoke, and the agner would surgace again. Miseray loves company.

While, even when I feel awful, if I am in a glad state of mine, I will find things to be grateful for. If I truly want to be glad, I can be. C. S. Lewis wrote in The Great Divorce “All those who seek Joy find it.”

I have not felt happy very much this year, but I know that I have been happier this year than I probably was last year. I know that I was happy even when I was depressed and miserable, because, I kept going, and I knew that there were things in life worth holding on for, and I had God’s help to know that, I am sure of that.

When I look back over this year, I couldn’t even tell you how I got through, if I had been told last year what it would be like, I would have said I could never endure something like that, but I did, and my memory doesn’t even serve to tell me an exact moment I became able to bear all this, something just carried me, I think. Even when I felt crushed, I must not really have been standing alone.

Love and life with apraxia... | Footprints in the sand poem, Footprint,  Footprints poem

I think that goes for you too, whether you believe in God or not, if you are reading this, He has held you up, through this year. So many people have not held on, those who have must have reached for something bigger than themselves, whether they called it God or not.

I hope we are all humbler than we were, this year has really exposed the lie that we can be self sufficient, all of us who were stupid enough to think that found out we were wrong pretty quickly (you remember when you first became so desperate for a hug you’d have hugged a total stranger? When you wanted to talk to someone about anything, even the weather? Haven’t we all had that this year?)

Many of us are mourning the loss of someone we know, or several someones, and I can’t be trite about that, but I do think, maybe we learned to value the people still with us a little more because of that, or to be more compassionate to others in the same boat as us.

Maybe we learned that our opinions are both important, and yet not as important as we thought.

I don’t know what your journey has been, but I know mine has been to realize that without love, without kindness between people, nothing really is worth doing with them. Superficial relationships don’t satisfy when a crisis hits, I need something real.

I hope that we are all becoming less content with the superficial, the fake, the flippant. As we find how unsatisfying it is.

I hope that this encouraged you at least a little to look at this year differently.

But even if you think I’m talking a lot of nonsense, Happy Thanksgiving, wherever you are, and I hope you will have blessings this year far more than you ever thought possible. May “your latter glory be greater than your former” (Haggai 2:9)

HAGGAI

Until next time, stay honest–Natasha.

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