Thanksgiving is a time for gathering friends and family. For me, it is a holiday that transcends its origins. It is a time of reflection and of generosity, an openness to giving and receiving blessings.
For more than half of my adult life, I lived outside the United States, working in countries where the knowledge of Thanksgiving was more a testament to the prodigiousness of American cultural infusion than anything else.
Even though not a recognized day off, I remained steadfast in my dedication to Thanksgiving. Every year, I hosted a large gathering of non-American friends in the evening, serving creative takes on a traditional menu. And every year, true to their cinematic understanding of the holiday, one of the guests would ask when the dinner speeches on ”what we are thankful for” began. And thus, fiction became a reality.
2021 has thrown this tradition into sharp relief. As we near the end of the second year of living through a pandemic, there are many days when anxiety, fatigue and frustration crowd out gratefulness. Weeks when being thankful seems self-indulgent amid the scale of suffering and sadness on display.
And yet, we know that gratitude is muscle memory. We need to practice thankfulness regularly, for it keeps the darkness at bay.
This Thanksgiving, I ask you to join the CDP team and me in finding the silver linings all around us.
We are thankful for our partners’ incredible staff and volunteers, supporting communities in times of disaster through direct operational activities, the provision of funds or other collaborations.
We are blessed by the kindness and humanity on display every day in manners big and small.
We are grateful for laughter, joy and happiness.
As you reflect on your Thanksgiving speech, I leave you with the words of the poet laureate Rabindranath Tagore, who wrote, “Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.”
Happy Thanksgiving to you and your loved ones from all of us at CDP. May your future skies be iridescent.