Wednesday, November 23, 2011
This Thanksgiving, our tree of thanks was filled with many of the same things we filled it with last year - in short, health and happiness, a wealth of love and friendship. I'm grateful, then, that so little has changed in this past year, that I still have so much to be thankful for: a healthy, happy family. Loving and supportive parents. Wonderful friends. I still have our beloved church family. The pursuit of my higher education. I still know how very lucky I am - for a home; for a husband with a good, stable job; for health insurance and working vehicles and money for food and shelter and clothing and some extras, too. For our happy kids. For our happy couple-ness.
And therefore, when so much remains the same, what is different this year? Stepping outside my comfortable and cozy surroundings, I'm so grateful for the courage I see in others. I know one really courageous kid who is putting up a mighty fight against the cancer that has invaded her body. A friend's mother who is waging her own terrific war against her cancer. I know a kid who is dealing with the death of her sister and her best friend, all in a span of two years. So many more people who have been forced to battle hardships and devastation and loss - and do so with great courage.
Last week while we were on the Downtown Mall, I saw, for the first time, the hundred or so people camped out as part of the "Occupy" movement. I was struck by their courage, their commitment, their dedication to the cause and the desire to be the change in this world. I'm grateful for the strong community they have developed, and grateful for how this movement has included - and benefitted - many homeless men and women. In my fussy church clothes, I felt overdressed and embarrassed to share the sidewalk with them, especially as my heart swelled with pride and gratitude for what they were doing for ME - just one of the 99%.
I just finished reading an Important Book. Written by a husband-and-wife, Pulitzer Prize-winning couple, Half the Sky details the marginalization of women across the globe, and describes what, exactly, we might do about it. Passionate, full of empathy, dedicated to recording the hard truths, this book is difficult to read, because of its content, yet demands the reader's undivided attention, because of the change that might result if we pay attention. I'm so grateful for this book, the people in this book, the groups and the individuals who try so hard to make life better. I'm grateful because this book is quietly working its way into my life. I'm grateful for new contexts, new perspectives, and new possibilities this book has forced me to consider.
I remain forever grateful.