On Thanksgiving I always think about my American friends. I love the tradition of giving thanks, and yes I also love a good Turkey with its trimmings. More than anything I love the opportunity to enjoy a quality conversation in the company of family and friends.
I can only imagine that this Thanksgiving some may find the conversation part to be challenging. We live in uncertain times and recent developments in the US, and in the world, have left people angry, sad and fearful for the future. Others feel victorious, hopeful and happy as they await much needed change to our broken systems. Chances are that we will be tempted to elevate “otherness” in the way we approach our conversations. We will find it all to easy to love those “on our team” and to dislike, even hate, those “not on our team”. What if we decided not to do that, and actually sat down not just to be heard, but also to listen? What if we used this opportunity of uncertainty and disagreement to learn more about each other and how we feel? What if we took this opportunity to engage in authentic and honest conversation with those we love, irrespective of how they voted?
I have honestly found the past few weeks quite hard and I unexpectedly found myself being sad, disappointed, possibly angry and certainly fearful. Those feelings are not typical for me but I have needed time to explore them. This week I decided that while such feelings are understandable and possibly justified, they are not serving me well. So today I am getting back to being Halla, the eternal optimist determined to find the silver lining in every cloud. I have a lot to be thankful for and today I will fearlessly share not just my thanks, but my hopes for what lies ahead.
I am thankful that we are having some much needed and important conversations all around the world. We can no longer hide the fact that there is hate, racism and misogyny in our world, so we can now talk about these issues without denial. While such conversations may be difficult I am hopeful that they will lead us to the next wave of progress, towards closing the race and gender gap and to becoming more conscious of the fact that if we can overcome “otherness” there is true strength in our “oneness”.
Important change catalysts
I am thankful for the people who devote their time and treasures to bringing about progress and change in the world. Some of our activists and change catalysts feel temporarily taken back by what they experience as the re-emergence of hateful speech and behaviors, but they use that back-lash to re-energize and organize and passionately continue their important work. I am hopeful that we will increasingly see partnerships between the many organizations and people working towards a world that empowers everyone, a world, where every life matters.
In summary, I am thankful for being healthy and happy, surrounded by family and friends who tirelessly come together to not only discuss the state of the world, but also come together to do something about it. I am hopeful that together we will become the change we want to see.