Our Thanksgiving holiday is a celebration of two profound words, “Thanks” and “Giving.” The pandemic requires that we open our hearts to others in profound ways, transporting us from our comfort zone to a fragile and vulnerable state. We, as a culture, have been forced to take care of ourselves and others.
Many of us in the financial community are celebrating and benefitting from the latest market record. At the same time, many others are newly standing in food bank lines reminiscent of the Great Depression or suffering unbearable pain or loss of loved ones. This Thanksgiving, we at SunStar are grateful for all those who have kept our world from spinning out of control and ponder how we, too, can give.
Below is an excerpt of an article by Mark Clark of Community Works, Inc. which came to us by way of Women of Providence (wpcweb.org).
The virus has taught us a powerful lesson about being defenseless. Without warning, it caused tremendous personal and communal suffering. Our fragility became real when shelves became bare. We panicked when such essential products as toilet paper, produce, and other rations often taken for granted became unavailable. Some people suffered the loss of jobs, income, medical care, isolation, and grief at the death of loved ones. We breathed sighs of relief when necessities became available again and felt moments of gratitude when anxieties lessened for a brief time.
The virus continues to teach us a powerful lesson about being helpless, but our fragility is relieved through the gift of thankfulness. We become thankful when we realize that giving to and sharing with others moves us from helplessness to hopefulness. When we unselfishly share ourselves, we form connections rooted in agape. This Greek word calls us to unconditional love. The pandemic calls us to enter a transformative process that enhances our common bonds through a selfless sharing.
This quality of agape is exemplified by truckers, warehouse and grocery employees, domestics, and others who risk their lives for others. Doctors, nurses, and CNAs also place themselves at risk by offering a healing and emotional presence to the vulnerable, scared, and dying. The pandemic has opened our hearts in new ways to recognize these often invisible members of our society. They have offered daily witness and modeling for the broader community. [For Christians], they exemplify the words of the gospel of John 15:13: “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” Their commitment and dedication to serving others shows us the power of agape’s selfless love.
In Grateful, Diana Butler Bass cites the words of Melodie Beattie: “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life." Over the past months, people who are grateful for their safety and health have lived this statement by dropping off food, calling a senior neighbor, feeding the homeless, and performing similar acts of kindness. These simple acts have replaced a sense of isolation with a feeling of connection.
Diana Butler Bass further explores the importance of being thankful: “How we live together in and with gratitude makes all the difference in the world” ...the true meaning of Thanksgiving [can be} a life of gratitude that brings reconciliation and love to a fragile and vulnerable world. Thanksgiving 2020 will be a celebration of both thankfulness and gratitude.