View of place setting at table, focused on water glass with Thanksgiving candel on the left side

In this unusual year, I find it difficult to think of gratitude and giving thanks in a usual way. There is a great deal of chaos in the world, at times there is a feel of constant yelling, as so many attempts to grab my attention for supposed important events. In the meantime, my family is preparing for our Thanksgiving at home. Our Thanksgiving is usually just my immediate family so that isn’t new. But the masks and gloves on the table, the bottle with hand sanitizer at the ready if we need to venture out, those are unexpected additions to our holiday season.

Table with decoration for Thanksgiving, face masks, gloves and hand santizier. Small angel with light glowing in center of table

There is hope, vaccines have been developed for COVID that are promising. There is also hopelessness as the number of cases increase while hospitals fill, lines of cars waiting for food, and other signs of trouble. It can be hard to keep hope in view while we are shouted at to look at the despair.

View of table with Thanksgiving decorations, face masks, gloves and hand sanitizer with greenish light from small angel in center

So I take moments to feel the enormity of what’s going on, to acknowledge my feelings, then to search for the hope, the promise of a better tomorrow, somehow. For me, someone who experiences depression, this is also not very different from my life before 2020. Events in 2020 have served more to shine a spotlight on problem areas that have been easier to ignore. I am thankful that I have experience in dealing with my feelings of despair and anxiety so they are not overwhelming. I do feel hope, I do think that things will get better, just perhaps not as quickly as I might prefer. Yet when I look back, I suspect this time will seem like a blink, a quick moment that went by quickly when viewed from the future.

Serving dishes for Thanksgiving empty and waiting to be put up

In the meantime, I remind my self of my gratitude for our current situation and my family and friends continued health.  I am also thankful for lessons on what is important in life and a reminder to appreciate the things that go right. I look for ways to help others at a time when so many are hurting, doing what I can to bring a little hope into the world. My wish for everyone is a safe and healthy holiday season, stay safe everyone.

Table with place settings for Thanksgiving and a center piece on the table with candles

Pictures by J.T. Harpster and Tamara Harpster. Prints of some photos on site can be purchased at

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View of hiking trail, tree to the side with sun shining through the leaves on a fall day