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Give Me One Day

Jean Hoefling

**Due to some transitions at Relief, we're behind schedule on our posts. Please accept our apologies. And please join us in reflecting on Jean Hoefling's inspiring Thanksgiving meditation.


To give thanks in solitude is enough. Thanksgiving has wings and goes where it must go. Your prayer knows much more about it than you do.   –Victor Hugo

Give me this one warm, sappy, Thomas Kinkade kind of day; one moment of respite from the bombardment of strident media voices that blast endlessly about everything that’s apparently wrong with this country, and instead, let me ponder the outdated notion that there might be something right with it. Let me relish the unassuming arrival and the fragrant, cinnamon-scented lingering of this very special American day, and do it without guilt. Give me Thanksgiving Day. 

Why must the Puritan zealots we called “pilgrims” in the innocence of childhood now be viewed as hard-hearted villains intent in every case on exploiting the indigenous people of the New World they’d finally reached? What would be so wrongheaded about imagining a happy day of feasting between peoples of different worldviews who were happy to relish the first fruits of an abundant harvest and (gasp) find their common humanity to be enough? Just for one day, of course. 

I say, there’s nothing wrong with it. Good things happen, and myths aren’t birthed in a vacuum. If we’re humble, we’ll remember that every one of us has had our own go at reaching toward what we imagine is a better world, and that our efforts are often rife with daft mistakes, muddled interpretations and sometimes deep regrets. We are no different from the Puritans, as hardwired for freedom as they were, and none of us get it all right, or all wrong. 

And that’s all I’m going to say about that. In honor of the Puritans’ politically incorrect audacity, this Thanksgiving Day I’m going to splurge on irrational trust, believing that the alleged events we base this unique holiday on was not an all-or-nothing scenario. I’m going to consider the possibility that Providence might actually have blessed this land because of the principles on which it was founded, in a way that had never happened before in the history of the world. 

Don’t try to talk me out of this outrageous notion; I need the therapy. Sitting among people I love for that special dinner, I’ll choose to give thanks for this country, imperfect as it is. Most radical of all, I’m going to consciously refrain from every prayer that begins and ends with me. 

Just thanksgiving, beloved of God. Give me one day.