25 November

Happy Thanksgiving: “Life Is Long If You Know How To Use It.”

by Jon Katz

For me, today is a day to pause and to be gentle and grateful. I’ll skip Black Friday, it feels too much like an exploitation of a holiday, not a holiday that calls for gratitude and reflection.

How fortunate I am to be on this farm with our animals and sharing my life with Maria. I could never ask for more than that. This Thanksgiving, I have everything I ever wanted and everything I need.

I am truly sorry for all the anger and fear in our world right now. But today is all good for me.

Maria and I and Zinnia are going to the Mansion at 11 a.m. to meditate with the residents who have no families to go to, and to read them some stories.

This afternoon I’m cooking one of my specialties, fresh scallops for our Thanksgiving dinner. Our friend Emily has baked us a beautiful wheat bread for breakfast.

Tonight, we’ll watch the new Len-Manuel Miranda movie Tick-Tock-Boom on Netflix (Saturday we’re going to see Belfast at a local theater). We plan to give thanks to the animals on the farm today and be with them.

I’m hoping for a very quiet and peaceful day, I have so much to be thankful for. I can’t say I relate the day to the pilgrims, the story is clouded and fuzzy for me. I’m learning a lot about my country.

But I will sit down, put some music on and think in solitude about the things I love – Maria, some wonderful new friends, our animals, dogs, blog, photography, my Amish neighbors, the good doctors who are leading me to a healthy place.

I am grateful for the creative life I have been given to share.

I used to think (just months ago) that I would not be around for long, the actuaries say people with two chronic diseases don’t usuallly last past 75. Now I feel good and sure that you’ll have me to put up with for some years after that.

I didn’t know it was up to me in part. The fates will have their say, an I will have mine.

I have no desire to live forever, but I have a new and strong desire to be with Maria and the farm and the blog (and my new adopted Leica) and continue the work of good. It is more important than ever. That alone is a good  reason to get healthier.

Zinnia and I are back at our therapy work and really appreciating it, and I am grareful for all the help we have given the new Afghan refugee and the existing ones.

I am also grateful to have this important and fulfilling work to do.

When I hear what these new refugees – and the Bishop Maginn students –  have been through, I remember to be especially grateful for my life. Life is not a straight line, there are ups and downs, and grace to me is how I deal with the downs, the ups take care of themselves.

I am especially grateful to my friend Sue Silverstein, for guiding me through this work and teaching me how to do it well. Her heart is as big as a mountain.

I am in a good place with a bunch of bumps, and I thank so many of you for helping me to get there, to share my story, to support my work and think along with me about what it means to be a human being, even in these bumpy days.

I wish you all good health, love and connection, and above all else, gratitude for the life we have been given and the opportunity to use it.

It was Seneca who said “Life is long if you know how to use it.” Every day  I am learning how to use it, Happy Thanksgiving to you. I am grateful for you.


  1. Happy Thanksgiving to you too, Jon. I have so many blessings to be thankful for and one of them is your blog, which I read and meditate on every day. Your perspective on life, our world, and our country helps keep me grounded. May you have a long life in which to continue the good that you do.

  2. Happy Thanksgiving to you and Maria!! I’m thankful for both of you, for the things you share, the good that you do, and for Maria’s wool!! 🙂
    We have a good life and I’m glad you two are part of it!!
    Enjoy your day!

  3. Nonsense: I had TB (lung and spinal) as a child in Eastern Europe. I now have congestive heart failure and arthritis in every joint in my body except my ankles. I am 84 and looking forward to surgery for a mitral valve heart clip in the near future. It is barely invasive surgery now.
    So on you go Jon and push for 90.
    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving. We, too, will be at home with a full Thanksgiving dinner picked up from the country club beyond our back fence. We expect calls from sister in England, nieces in Australia and daughter and her family in Texas and family members in Texas and Colorado. They are arranged in staggered order and some will come tomorrow. This happens every year and it is such fun.

  4. You’ve got me thinking (as always) about how my life really IS in my hands. I get to choose on what I place my focus and attention, and I choose to see the good, feel the good, and do some good. Reading about your bumps has helped me over my own. Connection with others is what we all seek, and from what I’ve been reading lately, connection is wired in our brains. No wonder disconnection from self and others can be so destructive. So – I am thankful – thankful that I can choose to read wise and kind words about how others get and stay connected. Thank you, Jon, for sharing.

  5. Thank you, Jon, for so many good words and images. I too am thankful for Gloria, the cardinal at my window, Henry, the squirrel who is always in search of an apple core or acorn and Cleo and Harold, the ducks in the pond.

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