By Meritt Buyer
I don’t want to be negative, but I also really do not want to write the cliché Thanksgiving blog post. Sometimes it seems to me that the news from the US is always worse when I am living overseas. I don’t know if that is because I gain a slightly different perspective when I am away or if my sources are a slightly different. I obviously don’t think that everything was going swimmingly in America until I left two months ago and then it all fell to pieces. But news from the US right now does seem to carry a certain dark cloud with it.
One thing that I have always had trouble understanding is the patriotic push to be grateful for what we have in America without always taking time to consider exactly what it is that we are grateful for and how we then use that gratitude. We are grateful for the privileges and freedoms we have as Americans. We have access to choices beyond the collective imagination of much of the rest of the world. We appreciate the beauty of our surroundings.
And then what?
Are we willing to share it? Do we make the connection between the natural beauty and the need for conservation of our natural resources? Are we truly grateful for the meals we eat each day if we are willing to ignore those who are hungry? We announce our gratitude. We write speeches about it and put it on greeting cards.
And then what?
W.T Purkiser said, “Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our thanksgiving.” Yesterday, I spent the morning at St. Joseph’s hospital, assisting with BCC’s annual Promot health screening. Twenty children attended along with their parents. I watched the mamas hold each other’s children. They helped each other lift the children who could not stand on their own. They took turns waving a kanga over those who could not fan themselves. They followed the kids who tended to wander. They laughed with each other. They laughed at my bad Swahili. They all helped to comfort the children who scared. No one made a distinction about whose child was whose. No one complained that one family required more assistance than the others. They each gave where they could.
I hope that we all can be grateful enough on this Thanksgiving day to give whatever we have to give. I hope we can try to hold each child as we would our own. I hope we can seek to make whatever difference we can in our own corner of the world, and beyond. Lastly, I hope we can take an extra moment to be grateful for the people who gave of themselves in order to have made a difference in our own lives.
Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!