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Tuesday, June 18, 2024
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The language of thanksgiving

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The language of thanksgiving

As I write this the Saskatchewan Roughriders have just lost their fifth game in a row.

The Prince Albert Raiders are trailing Swift Current 4-2, and have given up three power play goals on three penalty killing opportunities.

The price of gas has gone through the roof, past the powerlines, and probably sits somewhere in the exosphere, and our Prime Minister and official opposition leader are busy squabbling over hashtags. For those of you who don’t know what that’s about, I envy you.

It’s tempting in times like this to get the pity party going. It’s equally tempting to look at all the problems going on around the world—the wars, the famines, the poverty, the corruption—and almost guilt ourselves into feeling bad about feeling bad. There are people dying, and you’re worried about a football game?

You can even do this with bigger problems, like the rising cost of living. You’re worried about paying too much at the pumps? You know there’s a war going on right now, right?

It’s important to put everything in its proper context because it’s so easy to forget how good we have it here in Saskatchewan. Reading stories about a cough syrup scandal that killed 66 children in Gambia or a mass killing at a childcare centre in Thailand can jar us back to reality, but I’ve only liked this approach in small doses.

I dislike guilting people into feeling bad about feeling bad. Instead, I prefer to look closer to home, and encourage everyone, for one day, to be thankful for the small things.

The Riders may be losing, but for the first time in three years, I was able to watch a football game at Mosaic Stadium with a close friend I hadn’t seen since COVID started. The Raiders penalty kill may be struggling, but at least Prince Albert hockey fans can be in the rink for the next home game to urge them to victory.

And yes, our leaders in Ottawa may be fighting over things that have little impact on the average Canadian, but at least for one day a year I can go home and forget all about it.

I don’t expect everyone to be happy all the time. I’m certainly not. But I try to practice what St. John Chrysostom, the fourth century Byzantine Archbishop, called the “words of thanksgiving”.

Someone who confesses his sins, and does not receive his due penalty, he wrote in a series of sermons inspired by the Book of Matthew, “this man most of all is the giver of thanks.”

This has been an incredibly difficult year at the Daily Herald, as it is for most media outlets. Journalists all over the country are quitting due to exhaustion, discouragement, and in extreme cases, despair. Replacing them has been a challenge for everyone.

At times, we have gone weeks with only two people in the newsroom—myself and one other reporter. In extreme cases, it was one person trying to hold things down all by themselves.

This leads to … well … things we would prefer not to happen. Grammar mistakes. Spelling errors. Wrong names in photographs. Stories not given the amount of attention they deserve. It is not something I’m happy about, but it is unfortunately the price news outlets pay for trying to keep the doors open with so few staff.

For all our readers who have stuck with us during one of the most difficult times the Daily Herald has gone through since I started full-time in 2015 … I am incredibly grateful for your support. In ways small and large, I am most of all a giver of thanks.

Thank you for your patience. May God bless all of you this Thanksgiving weekend.

Jason Kerr is the editor of the Prince Albert Daily Herald.