Many years on Thanksgiving I find myself distressed. Don’t get me wrong, I’m thankful for all the good things in my life—and they are more than I regularly stop to count—but life has a way of tossing reality bombs into the mix. This year, though, there is much for which I’m feeling particularly grateful. Family and friends foremost. Fairly good health and a day or two off work. These are all wonderful. This year gave us a couple more great gifts: the rejection of a leader who always and only thought of himself and convinced millions that he cared for their interests and beliefs. A “leader” who refused to acknowledge defeat but just this week began a transition that should’ve begun nearly three weeks ago. Many are inexpressibly thankful for this.
Although on a much smaller scale, I’m thankful for Nightmares. Nightmares with the Bible, that is. Although it’s expensive (I’ll thankfully give a discount code to all askers), it is with a publisher that will promote it better than Holy Horror. It was a very pleasant surprise to receive the book before Thanksgiving, even with its Halloweenish theme. Anyone who puts years of their life into a project knows the gratitude in seeing it come to fruition. Nightmares was a labor of love and I hope all who venture to read it will be thankful that they did. I know I”m grateful for having lots of other book ideas. That’s one area where there’s a substantial surplus.
Like many people I’m becoming aware of the dark under-narrative to the American Thanksgiving myth. What we were presented in state-sanctioned school curricula was a story of grateful pilgrims wanting to share abundance with the American Indians. History shows that their motivations in colonizing were actually subjugation and making slaves of the indigenous people, something we now recognize as a form of evil. Such lessons are difficult to learn as an adult when the holiday has so many happy, cozy memories associated with it. We have just been through four years of national chaos in which “othering” became a wedge intended to fracture the fragile unity of this country. Yes, the guilt is real. We cannot, or at least should not, deny what history reveals about our motives. Instead we should widen our tables. Invite others to join us. (Virtually this year.) And be truly thankful for the many good things—some very large, and others very small—which we have.