It’s been a tough year – the pandemic, violence, a nation divided. We see state after state, district after district, attempting to enact voter suppression laws and to rewrite history in a way that erases discrimination then … and now. Tough year. Tough couple of years … or longer. So, I asked, what are you thankful for this Thanksgiving. 

A few years ago, well before the pandemic, I asked the same question and got an enormous response. This time, there were many fewer responses, perhaps a reflection of the uncertainty of our times.

The answers were also different this year, many thankful for their health and their family members health, for close relationships, but not much gratitude for institutions or national or local leaders.

Here are just three of the responses:

  • Peter Simon: “We fled Providence 3/2021 for our home in Wellfleet. Riding out the pandemic there with our kids and grandkids. House became a place where they could work and have us take care of food and childcare. Bought shellfish weekly at a Farmers Market set up by our Town Shellfish Warden. Made some new friends who were here for same reasons. We followed CDC guidelines, had friends for meals on our back deck wearing masks and getting heat from a propane fueled heater. Lots of things to be thankful for.”
  • Charleen Doscher: I am thankful for family and friends that are always a call away if in need.. oh we don’t see eye to eye on present day issues but we respect each other’s right to believe what is right for themselves. I am thankful for the love of my husband for 55 +… 
  • Margaret Riley: “I’m grateful for today and for all my yesterdays. The difficult ones, the easy ones, the sad or happy……..each one taught me a lesson and brought me to where I am today.”

And here’s a poem, the poet unknown, that captures the reasons we need to be thankful every day, not just on Thanksgiving.

Be Thankful

Be thankful that you don’t already have everything you desire.
If you did, what would there be to look forward to?
Be thankful when you don’t know something,
for it gives you the opportunity to learn.

Be thankful for the difficult times.
During those times you grow.
Be thankful for your limitations,
because they give you opportunities for improvement.
Be thankful for each new challenge,
because it will build your strength and character.

Be thankful for your mistakes.
They will teach you valuable lessons.
Be thankful when you’re tired and weary,
because it means you’ve made a difference.

It’s easy to be thankful for the good things.
A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who
are also thankful for the setbacks.
Gratitude can turn a negative into a positive.
Find a way to be thankful for your troubles,
and they can become your blessings.

Frank Prosnitz

Frank Prosnitz brings to WhatsUpNewp several years in journalism, including 10 as editor of the Providence (RI) Business News and 14 years as a reporter and bureau manager at the Providence (RI) Journal....