In light of the terrible things that are happening in the world, many (but not all) in the U.S. are lucky. We are able to take a step away from the madness, the discord, and the chaos to take a breath. To find our feet. For those who are not personally touched by the tragedies that have happened in the U.S. in the last year (Philando Castile, James Mean, or the countless others whose lives are now lost, and whose families are now aching), we get to take a break to reflect. To remember all the many things in our lives to which we owe thanks.
And we do owe thanks.
It is difficult to truly say that the election of Trump made me believe the world is a worse place – it isn’t. The world is exactly as it was before – a complicated mechanism of corruption, war, selfishness, love, hate, prejudice, injustice, selflessness, and beauty. We can (and should) rage against the injustices. It is our right, but even more so, it is our duty as citizens of this world to demand justice and to demand representation. But, we must also be self-aware enough to see where that rage is hindering our progress, rather than helping.
For my part, I am thankful that certain realities are now laid bare. The ugly truths stand revealed, and we may now confront them, as a society. Together. While I do not know if this confrontation will happen, or if it will happen in a healthy manner, I am hopeful. And I am thankful to all the people I see working tirelessly to effect a positive change in our communities and our society at large.
For one, I am thankful for the water protectors, who, in spite of the lack of media attention, still remain steadfast and peaceful in their struggle to protect their rights, and, symbolically, to the rights of all in the fight for clean water. I am thankful to Amnesty International and the Human Rights Watch, for their commitment to observing and reporting on what’s happening at Standing Rock. I am thankful to the United Nations, for their reporting on human rights abuses around the world, and their efforts to bring aid to those in need. I am thankful to all the human rights groups around the world, to all the men and women who make efforts to bring us news in the Middle East and in war torn regions, and to those who give their lives bringing aid to those war torn regions.
On a more personal front, I am thankful for my beautiful children, who always give me hope. Their loving innocence as we discuss the racism and cruelty of the world gives me hope. I am thankful to my husband, whose journey through medicine has shown me the depths of his compassion. His love continues to remind me how love is an evolving thing and that as it changes, it can grow into something more beautiful, for all the storms it has weathered. He has shown me that love is mutable and there will always be new ways for me to fall in love with him as we each grow and change.
I am thankful to my siblings – to Deb, for inspiring me to reach beyond the comfortable and giving me hope for a better tomorrow for us all; to Dave, for challenging me to think beyond the traditional and bring me out of my comfort zone in political discussions; to Madeline, for her example of loving kindness and her dedication to her family and friends.
I am thankful to my parents-in-law, for showering my children with love. I know in no small part, that the love they receive from their nanny & pop-pop and their gramma and grampa from afar, is part of what’s led them to be the sweet children they are today. I am thankful for their school and their teachers, who each tell my kids that they love them, and who also share with me how loving my children are. It means the world to know that while I may struggle day-to-day, the one thing I want to give my children (more than any other thing), they are taking and giving to others, be it their friends, each other, or their teachers – LOVE.
I am thankful for my friends – near and far – who have helped broaden my horizons and are a continual source of hope. I have always felt like a misfit, something I am now comfortable with, and will always be grateful to (and awed and inspired by) the friends who have opened their arms and their hearts to me and mine.
With this – our gratitude for the many gifts we’ve been given, and our capacity to love our neighbors, we can continue to love, love, and love, and in that spirit of thankfulness, shower those less fortunate with the blessings that have been bestowed on us.
I am thankful for love. I am thankful for hope.