December 8, 2021

The Bad and the Good

Attention readers: Neil Patel is off this week. Please enjoy the following column by William Murchison.

And on … and on …

… And, yes! One fine day, as with the Noah family’s detention on the ark, the damndemic will cease, desist, vanish, take a powder. Masks will disappear in the trash can. Americans will pass days and weeks without a virus-inspired reflection on medical experts or D. J. Trump.

This is the good part. There is a bad part. It pains and saddens, in that thousands upon thousands who ought to be sharing just now in daily life here at Thanksgiving time cannot. They are dead. It is a consideration that outranks, “Oh I haven’t seen my grandkids for months” (true in the present writer’s case) or, “I can’t sit down in my favorite restaurant anymore” or even, “Think of all the jobs and livelihoods we’ve lost in America.”

The urgent business of recovery, or sheer survival, overshadows this year the customary rejoicing that attends Thanksgiving — the time officially set aside for the giving of thanks for blessings enjoyed over past months. Cheers! — and all the rest of it! “Ain’t we got fun?” to quote the zippy old pop song. Ain’t life, actually, the berries?

Actually, no. It’s not — and what is more, it never has been. The celebration of Thanksgiving, for all its merriment, rubs up against basic human understandings of how hard real, as distinguished from imagined, life can be. The harvest festivals from which our Thanksgiving practices descend were implied acknowledgements of life’s challenges. If bountiful harvests — “the kindly fruits of the earth,” in the words of the Book of Common Prayer — were straightforward and taken for granted. The point of marking them would have been … what?

These things, these blessings, these returns on labor and prayer were by no means to be taken in some straightforward, gimme-gimme sense. One, you see, could never know for sure what was around the corner. Maybe, for all anyone knew at the time, a plague of locusts. Maybe a seeming eternity of days without rain. Maybe, in human terms, a broken leg or the loss of a loved one.

We are getting painfully close here to the present and actual, to the disappearance of certainties taken largely for granted, such as the ability to go here and there without let or hindrance. A guaranteed paycheck, a robust 401(k) account, a rising stock market — were these things not American rights, emblems of our success as the nation of nations, mere check-off items on a list of satisfactions meant for a quick glance preceding the turkey carving?

If it seemed so at the time of the most recent gobbler dissection, we likely know better in 2020. A feast day meant to ring with joy seems this season to require a larger helping of seriousness than overflowing kitchens and football games commonly produce.

Always in life, the spirt of joy evidences a certain tenuousness, an air of fragility indicative of a disposition not to hang around the house forever. Its proper packaging and presentation require what we might call delicacy — not too much sauce, thanks all the same; chew slowly; take time to savor.

It was partly due to such considerations, I would imagine, that the authors of the great holiday, in its first misty moments, cleared a place at respective tables for an extra guest, namely, God the Father Almighty, the one great author of harvests and blissful weather, always prepared, by scriptural account, to receive the thanks of a grateful people.

Comes our coronavirus Thanksgiving: one for the books, that’s for sure. The risk likely isn’t a surplus of joy. I am minded to say the risk, amid a pandemic and a disputed presidential election that follow Western infernos and Eastern hurricanes, is too little understanding of the balance we negotiate in life.

A Texas woman born in 1911 (who happens to have been my mother) frequently drew on the wisdom of an escaped convict in these here parts, recaptured quickly and asked by a reporter how he felt about his loss of liberty. In this life, the convict said, philosophically, you have to take the bad with the good.

And so you do. Hooray for the good! But bear in mind the bad: always remembering, as did Thanksgiving’s founders, who’s really in charge around here, thank the Lord.

William Murchison is writing a book on moral reconstruction in the 21st century. His latest book is “The Cost of Liberty: The Life of John Dickinson.” To find out more about William Murchison, and to see features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2020 CREATORS.COM

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paw paw (@guest_1080744)
1 year ago

I DON’T believe the hype we’re getting about COVID! Never did, even from the beginning. I agree it’s a bad disease if some people get it, but so is influenza and other illnesses! People in Albuquerque got registered for COVID testing, left the line after waiting for four hours, and received letters in the mail two weeks later that they tested POSITIVE for COVID!! They were NOT tested to begin with!! I wonder just how much of this is happening nationwide?? I wonder how much money these “testing” sites (agencies whatever) are getting for each test AND do they get extra $ for a positive result?? JUST asking!!!

MELINDA BIGELOW (@guest_1081055)
1 year ago

I AGREE 1WOMAN HAD 10
– TESTS AND THEY COUNTED HER AS 10 CASES NOT 1 I WANT TO KNOW WHAT IS BILL GATES DOINFG IN HIS LAB IN WUHAN CHINA THAT I HEARD HE HAS SINCE THAT IS WHER THE VIRUS CAME FROM AND HE IS VERY CONCERNED ABOUT OVER POPULATION?

D Bent (@guest_1082061)
Reply to  MELINDA BIGELOW
1 year ago

Lots of funky math going on with c0vid and the v0te. One excuse for a good crisis leads to another. Neither of these ‘bads’ had to happen. I believe this was all planned in concert with getting ole Donny boy out because he is too good at drying up the fetid pool in D of C, non-joiner that he is. They couldn’t get him out by hook or crook so they tried ills (covid), shrills (MSM), and fills (ball0ts). Arrogant demos to think they can fool the majority of us chumps and deplorables.

Javiernop (@guest_1247385)
6 months ago

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