Sunday, November 28, 2021

Blessings bloom beneath the surface

| November 24, 2021 1:00 AM

This Thanksgiving, let’s try something a little different.

No, we’re not going so far as to recommend families feast on Spam soufflé or bratwurst burgers instead of roast turkey.

However, let’s consider some things for which we’re thankful that we might not have thought about in quite that way before. Call it Finding Gratitude in the Gutter.

The idea is to take something that makes life a little less worth living and find something good in it. If we can express gratitude between anguished gasps, then maybe we're really onto something good.

To illustrate this admittedly strange exercise, we’ll go first.

We’re grateful for those who think the opposite of how we think.

As long as people can keep a leash on the anger beast — no easy task these days, admittedly — hearing and considering viewpoints other than those we harbor is more than a healthy exercise: It's the only way we learn.

Look at what someone else thinks as a gift, rather than a threat. When it's presented constructively or even neutrally, relationships can grow.

Thanksgiving Day note: The dinner table tomorrow is probably not the ideal place to experiment on this point.

We’re grateful for high gas prices.

That might come as a surprise if you’ve overheard us cursing the escalating numbers on the pump, begging them to slow the heck down. But we acknowledge a level of gratitude because a) gas is still way more expensive elsewhere, b) there is no shortage of gas here and c) paying a hefty amount encourages us to maybe drive a little less than we otherwise might.

We’re grateful for the crowded roadways.

Despite high gas prices, our streets and highways have never seen so much routine traffic. Thank goodness.

All these vehicles on the roads mean we live in such a desirable place that more and more people want to live here, too. You’ll note that there are more cars and trucks coming in than going out. “Exodus” is not our middle name, and for that we should all be thankful.

If this exercise isn’t working for you, and we can see from some of the wrinkled foreheads and twitchy fingers that it is not, we can easily revert to the more traditional giving of thanks for obvious blessings.

This year, more than any we can recall, we are thankful for every single person in our local service industry who, despite inflation, housing shortages and being in the front-line trenches during a pandemic, continue to provide what consumers want.

Whine if you must about reduced hours at restaurants and stores, but with millions of Americans quitting their jobs and supply chain chaos making business as usual anything but, dedicated service industry employees are still showing up to work. And most of them are doing it with smiles on their beautiful faces.