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In Midst of Trouble, We Remain Blessed

As so often is the case for Americans, a time of trial reminds us of how very blessed we are ­– and how grateful we should be for that.

Today, many of us will sit down to Thanksgiving feasts far different than those in which we have reveled in years past. For too many, there will be empty seats at our tables. Beloved family members and friends have been taken from us by a terrible epidemic.

There is no getting around the loss, of course. People truly precious to us have been taken.

We remind ourselves, however, of the truth of the reminder that it is better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all. In having those we loved — and who loved us, too — we have been blessed, if only for too brief a time.

For them, we are truly thankful.

Some empty chairs could have been occupied by other loved ones who still are among us — but from whom we distance ourselves today purely out of love. Staying away from them now and during trying weeks and months to come may keep the COVID-19 virus from afflicting those we hold dear.

Being away from them today, on the day we have set aside for the one big family gathering of the year, is heart-rending.

Yet we are grateful that as all humankind seems prey to a vicious disease against which we have so few defenses, we are able today to do something to protect loved ones.

For that blessing, we are thankful.

We confess to being somewhat surprised at another blessing, one that has become apparent during the past few weeks. For months turmoil linked to politics has shaken our nation. We were warned that regardless of the outcome of the election earlier this year, there could be widespread violence as one side or the other took out its frustrations.

It didn’t happen. Yes, there were a few confrontations, but nothing like the deadly destruction some warned us about.

We should have known better. We are Americans, after all. We are handling our differences peacefully, once again.

This Thanksgiving is one in which sorrow hangs over too many families — and fear persists in millions of households. Even in this, we find cause to be profoundly grateful that we are surrounded by caring, compassionate neighbors, friends and co-workers, all eager to do what they can to ease our pain.

So this Thanksgiving is different, but in many ways the same as in years past: Our trials may be many — but our blessings are, too.

Happy Thanksgiving.

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