May you be well, happy, and peaceful on this day of thanks.
On Thursday, Thanksgiving, I will be thankful. I will be with family and friends enjoying holiday festivities.
This is the first time the specific members of this extended family group will share a meal, so I suspect we will discuss how the time will be used while we’re together.
- Will we watch a football game or go outside and throw around the pigskin?
- Who will prepare the gravy and who will clean the dishes?
- Will we bend our heads in traditional prayer or chose the more contemporary conversation of what we’re each thankful for?
These are first-world questions.
I am certain we will not talk about ethnic cleansing, incarceration, food insecurity, political asylum, unavailable medical treatments or any of the topics that others of our world grapple with.
Thankfully those issues do not affect this group of eight and the members of our extended family who will not be there. We’re aware of those subjects. Ours is a family that cares about others, that steps outside its comfort zone to reach out to those in need, in turmoil, in difficulty. We give, we volunteer, we talk, we vote in recognition of others. But, we’re not them — we’re not the others.
We’re well insulated from being them. We don’t come close to that edge where uncomfortable decisions must be made.
- Should I buy my family food or medicine?
- Do I abandon my family to work in another country to send money home?
- Is now the time we should escape with only what we can carry?
And our family group is further protected from the many who have no opportunity to make choices because they are enslaved or incarcerated or ill or, in some way, kept from that ability.
Why are we different? Is it birth, karma, or luck? I don’t know for sure. I do know I’ve done nothing for my family which was superior to the efforts made by Whale or Voltaire. I’ve not suffered anything near to the injustices experienced by Omar or Firoosa. Nor have I seen the horrors described by Hamsa or Amin.
And yet, they and others will not be sitting at our Thanksgiving table. They will be elsewhere — in Haiti, or Syria, or Guatemala, or Greece, or Nigeria, or Tanzania — still moving forward, not giving up, determined to succeed.
I am thankful. I am thankful for their abilities to persevere no matter how daunting the reality. I am thankful to have met them and witnessed their strengths. And yes, I am thankful I am not any of those heroic individuals.
Please share and comment. Your thoughts and opinion are always welcome.
Judy O Haselhoef, a social artist who writes and travels and author of “GIVE & TAKE: Doing Our Damnedest NOT to be Another Charity in Haiti,” blogs regularly at her website,www.JOHaselhoef.com.
Copyright @2017: If you’d like to use any part of it (up to 200 words), please give full attribution and this website, www.JOHaselhoef.com.