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A hope, a prayer, and an empty chair on Thanksgiving Day 2021

Leon Bibb shares how, for some, blessings and gratitude share space at the table with grief and hardship. All have their rightful place in many homes this year.

CLEVELAND, Ohio — We hope wherever you spent Thanksgiving, it offered a few moments of reflection.  

We can still cling to blessings and gratitude, even as we work to regain our footing. I am holding a chair empty at my Thanksgiving table this year to remember those from holidays past, as well as those who made it possible for us to gather this year. 

Throughout this country are gatherings of family and friends.    

Whether it is an "Over the river and through the woods to grandmother's house we go" picture or one taking a different route to another location, Thanksgiving Day remains the same.  

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Thanksgiving dinner.

For me, the time is one of deep reflection as to how life has been over the past twenty months of pandemic.  

COVID hit hard, yet I offer a thanks for what appears to be our progression slowly from its clutches.  

So we gather, aware of troubles while we hope they will soon be behind us and we search for a sense of normalcy.  That is a Thanksgiving Day hope and prayer. Still, we are in a better place than a year ago when a vaccine was but a dream. Our dream came true. With vaccinations, we slowly gather again, celebrating face-to-face although masks should always be near.   

This Thanksgiving, I praise the scientists and medical people who developed the vaccine and got it to us. I celebrate those workers who could not labor from home, but stayed on at their workplaces to keep our lives and our needs in their focus.   

Credit: Alexander Raths - stock.adobe.co

As well, I am thankful for the technology allowing us to stay connected digitally when we cannot do so physically.       

Thanksgiving 2021 brings out my deepest of thoughts. 

In my circle of family and friends, we have cried because of death brought by coronavirus.   

Still, I am thankful for those lives which were well-lived and the legacies which were left.   

Out of respect for memories of those who have passed on, I will place an empty chair at my Thanksgiving Day table to represent not only those who have died during  of the pandemic but all those who have passed on over the years. Their spirits they will be at the table with the rest of us.  

 As long as we remember them, spiritually they remain with us. So this Thanksgiving will include my speaking their names as tribute.  And of course,  I am thankful for those family and friends who physically surround me still, emphasizing that life is indeed good.    

So here's a question: What are you thankful for this holiday?    

I venture to say it is something to think about as we all offer our gratitude this day. 

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