What’s on Your List?
By Penny Wiegert
There is no shortage of online discussion about the current pandemic. Sadly, much of it has no basis in fact. Some of the truths about how to face it are also discussed online. Fortunately, some of that is based on truth, wisdom and even the Gospel. 
And some of the wisdom of coping is shared in memes. In case you aren’t familiar with memes, they are defined as “humorous images, videos, pieces of text, etc., which are copied (often with slight variations) and spread rapidly by internet users.”
Some of the memes posted are quite relevant. One of the most recent memes advises that rather than focusing on what the pandemic has taken from us via cancellations, closings, etc., that we should focus on what we have. Another meme says that while we are complaining about slights or worrying about what we don’t have or haven’t achieved, somewhere, someone is praying to have the things we take for granted.
That gives us all a lot to think about. Just like the Gospel discussed in Bishop Malloy’s column on page 2 of this issue, we need to be that person who goes back to our master who is Christ and says “Thank You,” because despite all that is going on, we really do have things to be grateful for.
This all gave me pause. Rather than reflect on all the things that were missed or changed this year that, in my case, included:
– Not dressing for church and singing joyfully about the resurrection at Mass in my home parish.
– Not having my extended family in my home for Easter dinner.
– Not having birthday parties.
– Not participating in theater.
– Not having mom and daughter shopping and lunch dates.
– Not comforting friends and family who are grieving with funeral visitations, luncheons and holding hands in prayer.
– Not having a big Father’s Day gathering, which is our tradition.
– Not kicking back on the couch with my grandkids and adult kids for pizza and a movie night.
– Not having a big Thanksgiving with games.
– Not nearly enough hugs for those who need them.
Instead those goofy little memes and the Scriptures got me to decide to focus on all the things I do have that others may not have or are currently praying to get. As I look around my home, I include on my list:
– A warm, secure home.
– Safe, clean running water whenever I need it from a tap that is close by wherever I go.
– Medicine and care for when I am, or my family is, sick.
– Available food for when we are hungry.
– Clothes to wear and a place to clean them.
– Safe transportation to get me where I need to go.
– A church close by and parishioners who pray for each other.
– A peaceful community to live in where I am not afraid to be who I am.
– A family that loves and supports each other and the technology to keep us together when we must be apart.
– A job to pay for the things I need, some things I want and enough to help others as I can.
This list by no means represents all the things to which I am grateful but you get the idea. It is a list that I wish everyone the world over could make. Even as I compiled the list I knew there were people suffering from the ravages of storms, violence, hunger and illness above and beyond the concerns presented by the pandemic. 
But in everything there must be hope. And I think hope begins with faith and prayer. The late Bishop Thomas G. Doran’s motto was “Hope is the Anchor of Life.” Yes, hope most certainly is our anchor and it certainly must be. And our hope is in the Lord who made Heaven and Earth. And to the Lord we say, “thank you.”
What’s on your list this Thanksgiving?