This is month set aside for gratitude. The United States celebrates Thanksgiving, a federal holiday, which virtually all employers recognize as a day Commonly, Thanksgiving is seen as an American holiday. It’s much more than that for me. Thanksgiving is a celebration created by Native peoples - the sole non-immigrant inhabitants of the land called “America.” Indigenous peoples offered a festive feast to welcome immigrants. From this kind and generous act, Thanksgiving emerged into American culture. Included in my ancestry is that of the First People to occupy soil that you and I inhabit. My paternal great-grandmother was Cherokee. When holidays come, that ancestry coupled with my African and American lineage provides a broader perspective.
I awake each morning, able to “Move and have my being.” This expression of thankfulness is well known by those who heard it from elders. It simply means that I’ve awakened, able to see, hear, think, put my feet on the floor, stand, and walk without assistance. Admittedly, the saying had no meaning until I reached a certain age. Because God has so blessed me, I realize that the day is not to be wasted.
These days, we can easily become overwhelmed with anger, anguish, self-pity, and fear. Turning away from disturbing events, people, and circumstances may not be completely possible. However, it’s that all of us can practice, daily. The rising of the sun presents fleeting opportunity. Gratefulness, in some sense, means taking advantage of the opportunity and not wallow in sorrow. We all have 24 hours each day. How will you use yours? Just one individual stepping up can help change our community. Like Patty LaBelle sings, “I can’t complain.”