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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Thanks.. The Giving .. The Differences - May They All Come to Dinner.

It's Thanksgiving Eve and the preparations have begun full on in most houses around the country.  Pinterest is abuzz with the latest recipes and the grocery stores are alive with activity. 

Thanks ....... giving.   

So while I hope your potatoes are perfectly mashed and your gravy lumpless, I also hope you choose to spend your holiday this year in  thanks and in giving

Please for the love of God and all traditions...... be ...... thankful.  For all that you have and all that is possible in you.  For the tinyest of things and the largest of our creator.  Please put down the potato masher for just a minute and close the oven door and just breathe in the grace and the love and be thankful.  No matter your situations or conditions you can find a small sliver of something that you are truly thankful for.

And don't forget the giving.

Give of your praise and give of your time and throw mom a few bucks to chip in on the turkey and fixings for once.  Clean up the table, sweep the floor, carry out the trash.   Give an apology, give out praise, find a place to give.

And please for the love of the holiday and cranberry relish, do not spend the holiday bashing the groups who are unlike yourself.

Yes there is much in the news you could stew about and rant about and cuss about and all of that. This only contributes to the problem.  Everyone gathered around a table of people that look like you, act like you, worship like you and eat like you looking out at the others that are different with judgement and your idea of how things ought to be ....for them.  How they should dress and talk and respond.  While you sit unchanged.   And in your mind ....right.

And it's not just about race, or religion it's fundamentally about differences of any kind.  Because yes there is discrimination alive and well and it's not just saved up for the black versus white, I've experienced this still in 2014 with men in business who would rather work with a male consultant than me as a woman. No, they don't riot in the streets, but they make it clear.  Having "rights" shouldn't spill over into your right to judge and dictate that everyone should be more like you because differences make you uncomfortable. 

And the more we fear those differences and draw lines around those differences, the greater the gap becomes.  I love my country for the opportunity that it brings me but it also sickens me at times.  It doesn't take long when traveling outside of the US to find the "ugly American" ranting and complaining about something not being like it is "at home".  We are often ugly ungracious guests when we leave our cushy creature comforts.  We are entitled and secluded and we look ridiculous standing in the middle of someone's home complaining because it's not like our own.

As we sit in our neighborhoods full of "our kind" and watch the news just for our town or our country and make skinny little narrow minded judgments about politics and world views and how the others should fix their problems. The problems we've never actually seen except from the large flat screen that we stare at for hours each day. 

So please, don't sit around your beautiful table this year abundant with food and talk about the others in a way that evokes judgement.  Don't complain about the politics or the race riots or the guy that sits behind you at church and picks his nails.

Be thankful and giving and for the love of all holidays, plan some time to get outside of your teeny tiny little world. Plan a trip outside the country to experience the full breadth and depth of the human spirit. Turn off the tv news and go and get groceries for your elderly neighbor. Decide to take a long look in the mirror, staring deep into your eyes until you get to your soul and your own heart. 

Ask yourself who you are. You'll know if it needs work if you begin to justify your own actions and beliefs. Because we're all a bit of the problem.   Decide if you're willing to consider that you may not know everything. And that your ways may not be the only right ways.  And then invite those folks of a different race from across town into your home and welcome them and learn about them. Be open and vulnerable about their differences and their ideas.

If you have never left this country and most of your friends and family look like you, talk like you, and worship like you, then you don't get to vote on what's wrong with this country and the world because you haven't really seen it, heard it or tried to love and understand it.

When your world gets more colorful and full of views outside your own to ponder and consider and your heart gets open and you try some food you never thought you'd try and love it because you love the beautiful family that introduced it to you, then we're getting somewhere.  When your heart aches for the brokenness of all kinds and all colors, then we're getting somewhere.

Then we're closer to the thanks and to the giving.