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Letters to Loyola: Happy Thanksgiving

November 25, 2021

Dear Loyola,

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving today.

I love this holiday because it focuses on food and company, not gifts and commercialism. I love that it reminds us to be grateful, which (as St. Ignatius also taught us) is the key to being a good and happy person.  

But I also know that Thanksgiving comes with heightened expectations of Instagram perfection, expectations easily disappointed. Some of us are separated from our families today – by distance, loss, or estrangement. Some of us have friends and relatives who will say all of the wrong things at dinner, who will struggle to love us as we are.

And in that gap between expectations and reality, in that sense of relative deprivation, this can be one of the hardest days to be grateful. But the solution is, in fact, gratitude – remembering all that we are and all that we have.

Here is my own prayer for you today – whether you gather in glorious chaos with your own family in all of its complexity, with beloved friends or all by yourself. I hope that you feel the overwhelming love of God, who loves us as we are, and who hopes that we find the strength to love ourselves. I hope that you can remember who else might be feeling lonely today and give them a call. I hope you find empathy for others in their own imperfection. And I hope that you find rest and peace during this holiday.

I am very grateful for all of you.

Prayers and blessings,

Tania Tetlow