At this time of year, we typically express our thanks for people and things in our lives for which we are grateful.
One sad element of this practice is the fact that we perceive the need to do this at all. What I mean is this. Wouldn't it be amazing if the things we were thankful for in our lives were simply part of our lives all the time and not exceptions to the rule? Wouldn't it be fantastic if the act of giving thanks were made irrelevant by a more enlightened society and higher expectations of each other?
With that I mind, I want to give thanks for things that should simply exist without special notice, things that should be so normal that we would not view them as exceptional.
- I give thanks for people who possess the courage to speak truth to power.
- I give thanks for organizations that fight for the rights of oppressed peoples in spite of the ignorance and hatred displayed against them.
- I give thanks for the founders of this nation, who understood that freedom of religion did not give people the right to use their religious beliefs to discriminate against others.
- I give thanks for Gandhi, King, and other master teachers of nonviolence.
- I give thanks for protesters who use creative forms of civil disobedience in their quest for justice.
- I give thanks for true patriots who are not pawns of our military-industrial war machine.
- I give thanks for the men and women who continue to serve this country, as well as their families, in spite of the shockingly poor treatment veterans too often receive.
- I give thanks for the nurses and day care workers, home health aides and therapists, crisis counselors and shelter advocates who help people survive life on a daily basis.
- I give thanks for those who remind us of our unearned privileges so that we might be better allies.
- I give thanks for those committed to preserving the earth and a high quality environment for our children.
- I give thanks for the poets, musicians, artists, and dreamers who remind us of what matters in life.
- I give thanks for everyone who loves all of their neighbors and who remembers that a good life isn't about what you call god, but about how you treat the hungry and homeless, the poor and imprisoned, the helpless and the hopeless.
(originally published November 21, 2015)