Thanksgiving Assignment

People who aren't writers seldom realize the amazing amount of work that goes into writing a piece.

First, you have to wait till the last minute. You'd think this would be easy, but there are so many other things that need avoiding that it can be quite a challenge to find an activity (i.e. Netflix show) that is interesting enough to watch, but not informative enough to be worthwhile. It has to be something you can watch without your spouse and that you don't mind interrupting. The reason for this is because Pope Francis has definitively stated in an airplane somewhere that watching “your” show ahead of your partner is grounds for a declaration of nullity. The stakes are high, friends.

Second, you have to come up with an interesting and timely topic to write about that no one ever tires of, such as politics or the war on Christmas.

After you've decided on a topic, you must scan your memory to see if you've ever written anything else on the topic that can be “up-cycled” into your new piece. Then you must click through 35 slides on Tickld to find out how unbelievably fat/thin/drug-addled/dead the cast of ALF has become. (Slide 14 will blow you away!)

The next step is to second-guess your choice of topic and berate yourself ceaselessly for having nothing to say about it.

It is at this point that you decide, like an earnest substitute teacher, that this time you “mean it” and sit down to examine your pen collection. “If I want this piece to sound profound,” you tell yourself, “I have to write it with a fountain pen in a Moleskine notebook. But not with this pen —the nib is too fine — or this one — the ink ‘feathers’”. None of the pens your toddler used to poke holes in the library book you didn't like that much but now have to buy will work either — all the nibs are bent, unlike these ones here on the Internet . . .

Eventually, you decide that you will have to compose the piece directly in the computer because the deadline looms and Facebook isn't going to read itself.

Now that your house is clean and all your books alphabetized by the name of the color of their binding, you're ready to commit your topic to ink/pixels/whatever. For example, this piece has been all about Thanksgiving, but none of you readers have realized that yet because I am a master of suspense.

Now that I've held you hostage for this long, I will give you something to be thankful about and something to think about. If you're brave, you might even bring it up at the Thanksgiving table.

Today (and every day), be thankful that you're not God and that God is.

If you were God, half of the people at your family meal would be pillars of salt. If you were God, half the people in our country would be enduring some sort of Dante-esque punishment for voting the way they did in the recent election (submerged up to their lower lips in hot cocoa while being poked repeatedly in the eye with a safety pin, etc.). If you were God, you would also probably be crushed by the countless cries for mercy or vengeance that would resound endlessly in your ears. If you were God, you would beg someone to relieve you of the burden.

Happily, God is God and His shoulders are stronger than yours, stronger than Atlas’. He is capable of loving Hillaries and Donalds and their respective supporters with a tenderness that would shame you. To Him, they are precious and beloved children, made in His image and likeness. It would be good for us to thank God for loving us with equal tenderness.

Something to think about: in the Gospels, Jesus tells His disciples that those who aren't against Him are for Him AND that those who aren't for Him are against Him. (Thanks, Lord, for making following you so easy.) It seems to me that people tend to approach the world from one of these perspectives. Generally, I think the latter is the more common way of seeing the world. I wonder: how different would Thanksgiving be this year if everyone made an effort to assume the former?

Rob Drapeau