A Thanksgiving Irony
I think ironies make life interesting unless they become cause for cynicism. One of those ironies is our spending a full day of thanksgiving with our attention on gratitude and blessings, whole families volunteering to feeding the poor at the Salvation Army or a homeless shelter and, so far, the retail industry has not figured out a way to turn the focus to presents, cards and extravagance – other than food.
Still, a whole population of shoppers cannot be content with a day of rest and a consumer economy counting on a 24 hour splurge for 40% of their annual revenue cannot allow more than a single day to celebrate what we already have. As if Thanksgiving were just a momentary “time out” or a brief penance, we are prodded into immediately celebrating Black Friday before Thanksgiving dinner has even digested. It’s the exact reverse of Mardi Gras, isn’t it? Instead of a binge preceding the intentional simplicity of Lent, we take a moment to be grateful before rushing into the stores at midnight.
Alexis DeTocqueville noted this characteristic of ours when he wrote about the causes of the “restless spirit of Americans in the midst of their prosperity” in the 19th century. “The recollection of the brevity of life is a constant spur to him. Besides the good things which he possesses, he every instant fancies a thousand others which death will prevent him from trying if he does not try them soon. This thought fills him with anxiety, fear, and regret, and keeps his mind in ceaseless trepidation, which leads him perpetually to change his plans and his abode.”
“A native of the United States clings to this world’s goods as if he were certain never to die; and he is so hasty in grasping at all within his reach, that one would suppose he was constantly afraid of not living long enough to enjoy them. He clutches everything, he holds nothing fast, but soon loosens his grasp to pursue fresh gratifications.”
This is not a sermonette or a lecture. It is just an observation…and maybe a pitch for making Thanksgiving a two day holiday and eliminating Black Friday altogether.
|cathy primer krafve||November 28, 2011, 4:29 pm|
|Fred, do you think that restlessness is just a misdirected subconscious realization that eternity is only a heartbeat away at any given moment? Surely, those with a natural pressing ambition are intentionally designed by our Creator; wired intentionally for seriously putting all focused effort/ambition into bringing folks to Him. (BTW, you are so right about irony being entertaining.)|