Gratitude is not a passive response to something we have been given, gratitude arises from paying attention, from being awake in the presence of everything that lives within and without us. Gratitude is not necessarily something that is shown after the event, it is the deep, a-priori (deductive) state of attention that shows we understand and are equal to the gifted nature of life. Gratitude is the understanding that many millions of things must come together and live together and mesh together and breathe together in order for us to take even one more breath of air, that the underlying gift of life and incarnation as a living, participating human being is a privilege; that we are miraculously, part of something, rather than nothing. Even if that something is temporarily pain or despair, we inhabit a living world, with real faces, real voices, laughter, the color blue, the green of the fields, the freshness of a cold wind, or the tawny hue of a winter landscape. (David Whyte. Consolations: The Solace, Nourishment, and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words. 2015)
For some, Thanksgiving is a time for mourning. For some, it is a day of remembrance and spiritual connection. For some, it is a time of celebration. As a civil rights organization it is important for us to recognize that racism and oppression still exist for the Native Americans who lived on this continent before it was occupied by European settlers. As we sit at the Thanksgiving table this year, may we pause, take a moment and open our hearts to the voices and lives of those who continue to experience racism and oppression in our community, our state, and in our nation.
Wishing you peace and wellbeing as you pay attention to the gifts you have and can share with others today and into the future.
PS: Remember to hold the ones you love just a little closer and tighter this week (without expectations).
(image description: a picture with leaves that intertwine each other. Below the leaves is a saying by John F. Kennedy, As we express our gratitude we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.)