It’s Thursday, I’m suddenly 32, and I’m so very thankful.
I’m thankful that today is Thanksgiving. Thankful to be in charge of mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, and pumpkin pie. And I’m not fooling myself – the real thanks here goes to Pioneer Woman for the slow cooker tater recipe, Campbells for the forever-partnership with French’s French Fried Onions, and Costco for the pie.
I’m thankful for the time I’ll have to spend with my children talking about thankfulness. And for the time that they will distract themselves by abandoning Legos where some unsuspecting soul will step on them and watching whatever catches their interest on Netflix.
I’m thankful for my family – that we will gather together in one location, if not at the same table – thankful that there is a 22% chance that we may enjoy a meal without a melt down. Please, Universe, let it not be me this time!
I’m thankful for the YA novel I loaded on my Kindle last night. Thankful for the Lularoe encasing my lazy bootie on this couch.
Today I’ll go to my parents’ house and sit with my family and a plate filled to the brim with food from origins that encompass the globe. If my living room is messy and covered with Legos, at least it’s mine. I can enjoy the comfort of material pleasures and today, Thursday, my biggest worry is intrafamily dynamics. I have the ability to do what I love, to volunteer, to pursue passions in the arts, to write blog posts about change. Today, like every day, I will be warm, safe, and happy, my heart filled with laughter. I’ll smile at neighbors on the street and wish them a joyous time with their families. And, around 3pm, I will sit with my family around a table full of food. Hand in hand, we will say grace together over our meal, just as my family has been doing for the last 30 years or so:
Earth who gives to us this food
Sun who makes it ripe and good
Dear Earth, Dear Sun, by you we live
Our loving thanks to you we give.
But then, because we have a LOT to be thankful for and there are too many people out there who do not, we will add a section of our own:
Standing together under a common sky
Our hearts are bound by a single tie
We’ll stand and work for everyone,
This Earth united under the Sun.
We believe in a better common future, but right now, today, that future is still far away.
There are people who do not have basic freedoms. People who are not safe in their own homes and neighborhoods and streets. Who do not have enough to eat. Who lack access to clean water. There are people who cannot say what they believe, and do not dare to think it. People who fear for their well-being every day. There are people who weep ceaselessly, and those who might cry if they had any tears left to give. There are people fighting horrible diseases. People whose emotional security is at stake. There are people who are desperate for work – any kind of it – who leave everything that they have ever held dear to seek a better life for their children.
And yet I am not without hope. That’s because of you… yeah, you over there… I SEE YOU.
I SEE YOU modeling love for your children – bravely opening up conversations with them, teaching them what we WILL stand for and what we will NOT. Writing letters, signing petitions, offering prayers. I SEE YOU in my news feed praying at Standing Rock and helping Syrian refugees. I SEE YOU adopting children who desperately need homes, volunteering in food banks, buying bus passes for the homeless. I SEE YOU standing against bigotry. All of you out there – I SEE YOU. And I’m thankful for you, and for your place in our shared future.
And so this Thanksgiving, in spite of the hardships and fears that face our friends, neighbors, and even people halfway across the world from us, I just want to take a moment to express my thankfulness for all I have… which includes you. Thank you for inspiring me and others with your words and actions and beliefs… and I am looking forward to continuing to talk and listen to, learn from, and change the world with you.
And I pledge to continue to live according to your example – spending each day with my children as currency towards that change, so that we can together create the world we want to have around us: a world where everyone is truly united under the Sun with everything that they could possibly need or want.
Photos by Chrystal Cienfuegos Photography