Thanksgiving Thoughts

Maybe gratitude has nothing to do with joy. Maybe being grateful means recognizing what you have for what it is. Appreciating small victories. Admiring the struggle it takes simply to be human. Meredith Grey

Thanksgiving brings out my feelings of gratitude. Through the years my Thanksgiving posts express the joy I feel in my life. I’ve written about memories,  about worries, and about the sheer pleasure of knowing my family is safe and well.

This year I am tugged in the direction of those families who do not have peace and plenty in their lives and in their homes. I don’t need to look at Israel/Palestine, at Afghanistan, at the Ukraine, at parts of Africa, to see families living in violence and destruction. Right here… right now… families cannot know  that their young people are safe to walk the streets.

Today I will feel the warm glow of family at our table and by phone. I will laugh. I will bask in love. But in my mind and heart I will be searching for answers. What can I do to stand with mothers everywhere who live in fear for their children? How can I adjust my thoughts and my life in witness to my belief that we are all the same, without barriers of race, religion and ethnicity.

I needn’t have the “The Talk” with my sons, warning them of the dangers of being who they are. But in my home our conversations must continue to break open the huge blocks of racism that are endemic to our society. We must peel off the layers of blindness to our own actions and long-held biases that go unrecognized and unacknowledged.

As long as young black men must be taught that the color of their skin will affect how they are perceived in our world, then we need to question ourselves.  We need to hear the words of articulate mothers like Michelle Alexander and join her in searching for answers. We make up the fabric of our nation. We are all responsible.

I can’t say that I am grateful for the pain and turmoil, but I am I am grateful for another day to try to make a difference. I only wish Michael Brown had the same opportunity.



  1. Mother, I know that you are familiar with Vedanta. I am a Vedantin of sorts. We believe that once you have reached the middle class levels of existence and something draws you to matters spiritual, you simply have to accept what happens for being karmic effects coming to fruition and move on without reacting so that further chains of the action/reaction sequence stops, What happens to others is their karmic fruition. If I can do something about it I should in a compassionate way without expecting anything in return but if I cannot I simply pray for deliverance for them and move on without tying myself into knots.


    • This truth arises in many guises. Very reminiscent of “Loving What Is”, by Bryon Katie less the karmic allusions. Situations often bring me to a consciousness of my own thoughts and behaviors. Self-examination (not self-castigation) is something I CAN do.


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