Happy Friday — the day after Thanksgiving!
Let us give thanks for all we have harvested this year.
Let us call to mind and give thanks for all people who work retail and may not have paid time off. They stock the shelves and the coolers and the displays. They clean the floors and the windows and the counters. They say, “Have a nice day” when you’re done doing business with them.
Let us remember and show appreciation for all people who work in production, whether that’s on a bog farm, raising cranberries, or on a turkey farm, or in a butcher shop, or a processing plant. Many hands help to put food on our tables.
Let us not forget to share gratitude for all people whose jobs or careers are in transportation, who sit in the driver’s seat and pull heavy loads, or those who push pallets of goods onto semitrailers. Much of the food on our tables has come from far away.
Give kudos to all people in food service, who provide sustenance and coffee to the rest of us. Praise the pub managers, baristas, wait staff, hosts and hostesses, busboys and busgirls, dishwashers, chefs, line cooks, and all other hospitality positions.
Thank the turkey, that lordly bird, for giving its life to sustain ours. Sometimes called the earth eagle, the turkey is a symbol of all the blessings that the Earth offers, along with the ability to use them to their greatest advantage. The turkey is one of the most adaptable birds, and a communal animal that finds strength in numbers, setting the example of sharing.
Of course, we must show our love and affection for friends and family — those who raised us, who took us under their wings, who support us even now. Try to look past their callousness or belligerence, and thank them anyway.
Groove on the grid of our modern infrastructure: roads, fire hydrants, indoor plumbing, public sanitation, and stormwater runoff management. There’s a lot of work that goes into running a city, keeping the peace, providing drinkable water and electricity. Those folks all deserve our respect and maybe even our admiration.
Give thanks for considerate conversation and compliments. Be grateful for kindness and courtesy, wherever you find it. Smile for good music and pleasant entertainment. And enjoy comfort wherever you can. Be happy! We have an awful lot to be thankful for!
Happy Black Friday!
Without all the deliberate gratitude above, you might only see today as one of the high holy days of our economic system, where the dollar is worshiped higher than any other God. In all the ads and commercials, sensational sales, and spectacular specials, you might lose sight of all our other values, especially those not measured in the same way.
Don’t be blinded to all but getting a fantastic deal. Don’t let that single focus outweigh every other imperative, including consideration for one’s neighbor. Don’t let that happen to you. Be a good neighbor, be courteous, wherever you are. Don’t just treat others the way you would like to be treated — try a little kindness for a change.
Admittedly, it is a day that can make or break a small business, just as it tests the mettle of workers on every rank. Let’s all practice patience and graciousness under all the pressure to perform. Think of how others are faring today.
Have a great weekend!
Before you know it, today will be over and it’ll be Saturday, then Sunday. Following this particular weekend is Cyber Monday, when online stores try to have a big sales day, like Black Friday. My advice? Clip this column and read the first part all over again tomorrow, then again on Sunday and Monday. It always cheers us up to count our blessings.
After all that spending, Giving Tuesday is Nov. 29. Charities and nonprofits ask us for our support, and they depend on it. They support us, too. Find a 501C3 to contribute to, and give abundantly of your time, talent, and treasure. You might find this more appealing than tithing to a church, although churches, synagogues, temples, and mosques also need support. Give gratitude. Give kindness. Give grace. Give joy, and see how it grows! By sharing, our joys are multiplied and our sorrows are diminished. Let that be the spirit of the holidays this year.
David Soliday is the minister at the Delaware Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.