Thanksgiving is one of those holidays that strikes deeply into the heart of the United States citizenry. No matter who you are, you have some type of feeling surrounding the last Thursday in November.
In school, I remember making pilgrim hats and paper turkeys, Indian headbands and beads. We celebrated the idea of Native Americans and foreigners sitting down at a long table, sharing a meal. The idea of cooperation and goodwill. It was a good premise, though flawed.
I find myself wondering what our world would look like today if, instead of utilizing Manifest Destiny as our guiding map of behavior and exploration, we obeyed the laws of Human Kindness and Community. If each of us truly believed the precepts of our holy faith, not just the parts we agree with, but all of it.
I find it much more comfortable to agree with something that doesn’t make me nervous, don’t you?
No matter what religion you practice, true faith presses us to take an uncompromising honesty of ourselves. Honest faith enables believers to hold up a mirror and examine their own lives.
“Take the log out of your eye before you attempt to take the splinter out of your neighbor’s.” – Jesus of Nazareth
Why do so many of us miss this message?
Living in America today is like riding a wild roller coaster you’re not certain has a stopping point. We are divided politically, socially, ethnically and financially. We need to listen to our histories – all of our histories, not just a select few. (You know, the ones that make us comfortable.)
There are people sleeping on the green spaces of the freeways coming into Seattle. It isn’t enough to offer them shelter and a hot meal, though that is a start. There are people who, because they’re angry or have a brain disease that has not been addressed, obtain guns and rifles and kill others in our shopping malls, subways, movie theaters, schools, and freeways. Life is cheap and cheapened further by not understanding the value of each breath we take. Gun laws must be upheld in our courts. Mental health concerns must be addressed in a real and meaningful way.
There are those who aren’t listening to environmental experts, who disregard some of the brightest brains in our world, and continue to destroy our oceans and our rivers, drain our swamps, pollute the air, poison the earth in the name of industry, progress, and dare I say, Manifest Destiny. People who believe it is acceptable to water bomb crowds of protesters (earth protectors) with ice cold water in freezing weather because they want to continue with their pipeline through sacred lands. These are the same people who have blocked the road leading into the Sioux Nation so those who need medical help must travel miles and miles out of the way to get to a hospital. When does it stop? What kind of earth are we giving to the next generation?
All of these issues I struggle with on this Thanksgiving morning. A sense of dread creeps into the room and I know, if we don’t collectively stand up for decency, for human rights, for mental help, we are doomed.
This Thanksgiving I want to make a difference. This day, leading into the holiday season, I am not going to be silent. Wherever there is an issue that seems uncomfortable, that challenges my status quo – wherever I see others suffering, I am going to step forward and speak. I have to. I hope you do as well. In so doing, I hope this will truly become a country, even a world, where we are guided by Human Dignity, Kindness, and Cooperation. How about we create a world where everyone can be thankful.
Here are a few links I’ve found. I would love to hear what your passions are. Please post!
To connect with your representatives in Congress and the House http://www.house.gov/representatives/
Red Cross – Disaster Relief http://www.redcross.org/
Black Lives Matter http://www.blacklifematters.org/
National Alliance on Mental Health http://www.nami.org/
Information on North Dakota Pipeline and Indigenous Peoples https://www.facebook.com/IndigenousPeopleOfAmerica/?