As we celebrate Thanksgiving 2020, we still have much to be thankful for, even if at times it does not appear that way. For my family this is a particularly poignant Thanksgiving because my older brother, Joe, passed from this life to the next life on November 15. We are sad and yet so very thankful for brother Joe.

For a great many people, Covid-19 worries and separation, the loss of family members and friends, and Covid-related financial worries raise dark clouds. But the sun does rise each morning. The sunrise photo I am using today was taken at Goguac Lake in my old hometown, Battle Creek, Michigan, by my friend John Zuk. I use it with John’s permission. John’s photo reminds us that even on cold mornings and with wintry leafless trees the sun does indeed still rise: the Creator’s reminder that, even if we have occasionally cloudy vision and dark days, the Source of Life has not abandoned us. And we cannot abandon each other.

While looking for a Thanksgiving reflection for 2020, I came across a poem by Takashi “Thomas” Tanemori. Takashi was eight years old when, on August 6, 1945, the world’s first atomic bomb was dropped on his home city, Hiroshima. The explosion immediately killed an estimated 80,000 people. Tens of thousands more later died of radiation exposure. Tanemori survived. He is still with us. He wrote this poem called “Looking into Heaven with Love and Gratitude” on Thanksgiving Day, November 23, 2006  

Turning my face to Heaven

I sense rather than see

the endless blue.

Beyond the dancing leaves and soaring hawk,

its immeasurable stillness

reflects the wonder of all Creation.

Morning dew glittering in the dawn,

like precious jewels;

and twinkling stars echoing in the silent night,

like the songs of angels,

We gather the fruits of the earth,

till the barn is overflowing with bounty.

My heart fills with countless blessings:

food, shelter, clothing and friends to be encircled.

Looking back, I see how

my stumbling steps have become a path

and how, on this lonely road,

I have never been alone.

The kindness of many has been

like a spring rain,

bringing new life to my heart,

as a “Blade of Grass” ever emerging

from the ashes of the Past.

I stand, Amazed at my blessings,

grateful for God’s Wonders!


A very Happy Thanksgiving.

Thank you for traveling with me on Another Voice.


26 November 2020

18 thoughts on “Happy 2020 Thanksgiving

  1. Beautiful, Jack. A Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving to you and Josie. Thank you for your wonderful reflections.

  2. Jack, the poem, the photo and your words touch my heart. The loss of your brother when you are so far away perhaps leaves you with a deep yearning to have been nearer at tantrums time. Our first families are our first source of love and support and remain dear to our being despite any difference in ideas.

    Peace and love to you on this day oh thanksgiving.
    I am thankful for you and Joske in my life journey.


  3. Condolences on the loss of your brother, Jack. Tanemori’s poem is a balm for those suffering the loss of loved ones as well as all the losses we’ve experienced this year due to the pandemic. This Thanksgiving I am grateful for the years of inspiration, hope, compassion and scholarship you’ve given your readers.

  4. Dear Jack,
    Again, you touchingly remind us that there is so much to hold us in happiness despite life’s trials and tribulations. Your brother is waiting for you but that doesn’t diminish the pain of loss. The beautiful poem and picture are consoling and peace-giving. You are one of my life’s blessings for which I give thanks. May you and Joske have a blessed Thanksgiving!

  5. It is indeed sad to loose a dear brother .
    Sorry for your loss.
    So much loss and suffering during this pandemic . Let us look forward to new beginnings and a better new year.
    Think you for the beautiful poem .
    Happy thanksgiving.

  6. How sad for you and your family to lose your older brother, especially at this time of the year when we cherish so many family memories. My heart goes out to you and your famiiy at this time.

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