Thursday, November 22, 2012

I Am Depressed

Thanksgiving is the beginning of the Christmas season. Well, not to the stores. They have been stocking the shelves with Christmas stuff for at least 2 months, maybe since July 4th, but I am old and old-fashioned so to me Christmas begins on Friday after Thanksgiving. 

The reason I am depressed (see the title) is the way Thanksgiving gets dismissed as a marketing tool by the merchants who depend on Christmas sales as the last chance to get in the black.  Maybe that's why they call it "black Friday." Thanksgiving is the celebration of the Pilgrims survival after their first year of illness and death when half of them died. 

Thanksgiving is an opportunity for us to reflect on the year and give  thanks to God for his blessings and protection. It's not just a day to play football or hit the stores for Christmas shopping. It's not just a time to begin next years obesity run or make the most of the hunting season. 

I pray for a year when we look at Thanksgiving as an opportunity to  give thanks and praise for success, joy, love, and blessing, and to initiate the Christmas season with an overflowing sense of thanks and praise.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

On the Futility of Doing Good

I remember a line Minnie Pearl used on the Grand Ole Opry that describes my emotional state. She came out on stage with her famous flower-covered hat and the price tag dangling from it and exclaimed, "Oh.  Lordy, I feel so unnecessary." That useless, emptiness may be diagnosed today as depression. 

Sometimes the spark that keeps me driving on, that prompts me to action is absent. Sometimes I feel the uselessness of my efforts is a burden. When I spend money and effort to benefit someone, but the potential benefit is never realized, it registers in my soul as failure. It may happen over a long time with the recipient becoming increasingly dependent on the righteous and generous benefactor. Like an enabler and an alcoholic, both parties seem to become more and more addicted to their roles. 

One or both may express disdain for the situation, but they never break the relationship. The merry dance continues with ever increasing extremes of behavior. More money, more effort, more time. Until finally one of the parties changes something. One could become independent or the other could become bored with the steps of the dance. It does take two to play, and either one can disrupt the rhythm and change the rules. 

Who wants to be first? Change something; rewrite the game; learn a new method. But we are humans and subject to foolish habits and faulty reasoning. Check out the sequences in this paradigm and see where you can improve your life.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Just Quietly Withdraw

I have always been proud to be an American. There are events that cause me great distress, but I figure that I have to take the bad with the good. I read on the Net and the news that Texas and some other states were seeking permission to secede. I guess if I have to make a choice about my citizenship, I'll have to go with Texas.

I noted that Texas does have a balanced budget and the U.S. is deeply in debt. I realize this is an outcry and protest against policies and practices that are expected to continue in the light of the outcome of the election. It won't change anything, but it may let some people vent a little.

The problems that are now facing the private citizens will not change in the afterglow of the election. Prices are still gong up, even though gas flucuates and bounces with the holidays. The war seems to be continuing even though the President has vowed our troops would come home. The health care system is a mystery nobody understands. I feel confident in saying that everybody is going to die. 

I think these little forays into fantasy are good for us, sort of a release of frustration. We feel like we've done our part even though foreclosures are still threatening, drugs are still prominent at the street corners, children are still being abused, drive-by shootings are reported daily, and our borders are not secure.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Thank God for Thanksgiving

The fall holiday season is heating up and Thanksgiving looms on the horizon. I really love it because it is such a mixture of family, and history, and faith. Of course

When I was little we always went to my Mother's family celebration. One time I remember we went to my Father's mother's and celebrated with my uncles and cousins. Of course later, football got associated with Thanksgiving Day, and the Parades on TV in New York, Philadelphia, and Chicago became part of the tradition.  

I really love the story of the Pilgrims who suffered the first year in Plymouth and survived. I like to read it during the season and give thanks for all they did to make our nation strong and free and Christian. 

In the Bible there are lots of prayers and offerings of thanksgiving. Psalm 100 is an example. The Book of Nehemiah contains lots of examples of thanksgiving prayers, but Thanksgiving is not a religious observance. It does mean giving thanks to God for blessings and grace. Thanksgiving is a day which our whole country recognizes that there really is a God and that he is ultimately in control. Many people don't want to call America or the United States a Christian nation, but our government has declared the fourth Thursday in November to be Thanksgiving Day. It is a memorial of the Thanksgiving the Pilgrims held after their first and most dangerous year.

I guess I still call America a Christian nation. President Obama did not, and lots of other people would not agree with me. But they might not agree when I call America my country, either. Well, that's tough. It is my country and, if I want to call it Christian, I guess that's my business.