Thursday, November 23, 2017

Thanksgiving in America

I realized yesterday that today would be my first Thanksgiving in America—let alone with my family—in three years. 2013 was the last time that I was home for it. And, despite all of my annoyances with “home,” I can honestly say I’m very thankful to be here this year.

This morning I drove the hour south along the lake from Geneva and visited my grandma, this afternoon I ate Thanksgiving dinner with my immediate family, and this evening I played Settlers of Catan with my siblings.

Of course, not quite all of my siblings are here now. My sister, Mattea, isn’t. But she has probably the happiest excuse possible in that she’s now in another country, and part of another family.

So it’s different than Thanksgivings in the past, and who knows what the future will bring. But for at least a rare moment, I am very happy to be here and now. And I just wanted to say that, and that I hope you also have a happy Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

It could be worse

Last night I got home from work at 11pm and the only two things in my mailbox were a medical bill and a jury summons. And I was like to hell with adult life.

I felt like that most of today. That is, when I wasn’t too tired to really feel anything. Work didn’t help. Getting home this evening though, after a moment of continuing to feel miserable about everything, I thought about it from a different perspective.

I had the luck to be born in a country where criminal defendants are entitled to a trial by a jury of peers. Even if it threatens to kill me about every other day, I am gainfully employed. And the medical bill will only make me choose between it and how much money I put in my brokerage account this month, not it and the rent. Many, many people today aren't as lucky. 

So I felt much better about everything.

Until I thought back to the last time I really thought about the whole “count your blessings” thing. It was when I was working in Iraq, and I remember how perverse the whole idea seemed to me at the time.

Is our only recourse for suffering the fact that there are people who suffer more? And what does that feeling of blessedness for not suffering more do for anyone who is?

It’s fast approaching a couple years since I first really thought about that. I still don’t have an answer. The good news is, I’m generally too numb to really think about it now.

So it could be worse, which is good, right?