November 23, 2022 | by Bishop Sally Dyck
A couple weeks ago this tweet appeared, written by a young woman identified as Garden Coffee Lady, in Sacramento:
my husband and i wake up every morning and bring our coffee out to our garden and sit and talk for hours. every morning. it never gets old & we never run out of things to talk to (sic). love him so much.
What a pleasant, even humble, scene of not only enjoying the ordinary things in life—coffee, loving and talking to one’s spouse each day—but having a heart of gratitude for these things. It wasn’t a brag about her new Tesla or whatever else is the day’s fashionable status symbol; it was pure joy for the simple things.
She must have been affirmed by hundreds on Twitter, right? No, she was barraged by countless negative tweets and re-tweets about her elitism; how she and her husband must be rich and not have to work like the rest of of us peons. Her “privilege” was denounced and she was ridiculed for her comment, even by a well-known “wellness” speaker who touts the need for rest and restoration! Wow!
Finally she replied, saying that she owned her own business in Sacramento as a cosmetologist and her husband is a yoga instructor. I guess that their sin of elitism and privilege is that they don’t have to be at work at 7 am. Finally a few supportive tweets came in but the damage was done.
And not just to her. It’s symbolic of the damage done by the worst of social media. But when something happens (and is reported in some form of media) in peoples’ lives—good (like Garden Coffee Lady) or bad (think Paul Pelosi)—it’s a matter of minutes before people pile on with their negative, conspiratorial projections.
It’s nothing short of soul-damaging, even if it’s not happening to you. And it is deeply soul-damaging when it does happen to you (it’s happened to me and I’m sure I’m not the only one).
And that’s why Thanksgiving is more than turkey.
Gratitude is seeing and acknowledging goodness wherever it is. Especially in others. In God’s creation. In the simple, ordinary things of life. On the contrary, constantly seeking the spectacular—whether in material things or outdoing one another in political competition (even in the church)—causes us to lie about ourselves, look for the worst in others instead of the good, and always wanting bigger and better (even in the church). The Garden Coffee Lady was, as we say, counting her blessings and recognizing that those blessings outweigh the material things of life. And she shared them with others out of the abundance of gratitude in her heart.
Giving thanks has a verbal component but it also has a living-it-out component. Giving thanks means we each individually and together as a community of faith look for the good, affirm the good (use your words), and do good (use your actions); all the good you can…that’s Thanksgiving!
So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up. So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us work for the good of all and especially for those of the family of faith. (Galatians 6:9-10)