As we read news reports of violence in Ferguson, systemic racial injustice, long-silenced voices of victims of Bill Cosby, rampant sexual assault on college campuses and in the military, beatings of small children, and violence and unrest throughout the world, it seems there may be little to be thankful for this holiday. It feels the world is coming apart at its seams. And, we are ever-cognizant of the difficulties many of our clients, our friends, and our neighbors have with this holiday time, and our hearts go out to them.
We are reminded of another Thanksgiving when it surely felt the world was coming apart at its seams. In 1863, two years into the American Civil War and ten months after the Emancipation Proclamation, President Abraham Lincoln wrote, “The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies.” President Lincoln went on to write about how, in the midst of devastating civil war, there was much for which to give thanks, and to declare the last Thursday of each November as a national day of Thanksgiving. Full text available here.
President Lincoln’s words inspire us not to ignore the pain of the world around us, but to find those things, amidst the pain, for which thanks is due and thanks can be given. This holiday weekend, we give thanks for love, for family, for friends, and for pets. We give thanks for creativity, insight, and the ability to be a better person today than yesterday. We give thanks for empathy, for curiosity, for hope, for imagination, and for inspiration. We give thanks for our homes, for the people and things inside them, and for the ways we get to and from them. We give thanks for air, sun, water, and food. We give thanks for our educations, our professions, our employers, and our colleagues. We give thanks for our smart phones, and wonder how we survived without them. We give thanks for books, for newspapers, for magazines, and for social networking. We give thanks for music, for art, for artists, for the great diversity of humanity and for the peace and beauty that often flourish among our individuality. And we give thanks for a day when we step back from the chaos to reflect on the good, and our hopes for our futures.
May your Thanksgiving overflow with joy and laughter, and thankful reflection on the goodness of another year.