Thanksgiving, 2020

I am thinking about Martin Rinkart
who wrote the hymn,
‘Now Thank We All our God,’
while trying to be a pastor
during the thirty years war
and a plague
when he prayed the funeral service
for  forty to fifty people a day –
refugees, bodies piling up
from the illness, and his wife.

Among my personal … hearts
and hands and voices,
are my father-in-law,
sitting at our Thanksgiving table
one year and asked
to share a memory of this day,
lifting up
from a deep childhood place

how his sister Mary died,
1918, year of the influenza,
and the city
hung a sign on their front door,
“quarantine, no one enter.”

And I remember a November
when we sang,
“from our mother’s arms
has blessed us on our way”
as I said good-bye to mine
and brought the box of ashes home
to mix with my father.

And yet this year
of the subdued Thanksgiving,
small gatherings,
clouds gathering over the ocean
to darken the very brightness
of cranberries,
and so much loss and fear,

this year when the words –
I cannot breathe,
were what everything meant,

this year we still can count
some “wondrous things,”
small ones perhaps,
for each of us different moments,

and we can know today,
according to
the old weeping hymn writer,
there are countless gifts of love,
when we walk together,
but with compassion’s six feet
between us,
on the blessed path.

I am so grateful to Nancy Arthur Guest for this photograph.

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9 Responses to Thanksgiving, 2020

  1. Stephen Price says:

    The power of this is overwhelming. Thank you.

  2. Jane Fisler-Hoffman says:

    Thank you for this and many days Maren

  3. Maren says:

    And have a sweet Thanksgiving.

  4. Deane says:

    Thank you, Maren, for the gift of your insight! You are a blessing in my life! Prayers for you and your family this day ❤️

  5. Mahalo, Maren. I am so thankful for your discernment, and that I am blessed to call you friend. May you know countless gifts of love.

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