I love the concept of Thanksgiving, of sharing a meal with friends and family and partaking in the bounty of the season. For many years I lived away from my family and made Thanksgiving feasts with friends who also weren’t able or couldn’t afford to fly home for the day. Those times were precious to me.
Last year I was invited to Thanksgiving dinner at the home of a friend who was born in Italy and his wife who was born in Vietnam. Most of the guests were from other countries. Our host asked his wife to say a few words before dinner. She was a little taken aback and put on the spot, but she thought for a few seconds and then talked about how grateful she was to be in the United States. She fled her native country as a child in a time of war. America was a safe haven to her.
My Italian grandparents came to the United States because it was the land of opportunity. In the early twentieth century times were tough in Italy. Jobs were not easy to come by and opportunities for young people were few. America was a refuge, a place where they could find work and build a life despite where they came from or the circumstances into which they were born.
As we hear about the plight of refugees seeking asylum, give a thought to the early American settlers, the Pilgrims who sought refuge in this land we call home. They celebrated their first successful harvest with the natives who welcomed them.
Your #DolceVita practice for this week is to give thanks.
Give thanks for the abundance in which we live. We not only live in a land of plenty, but in a land where we don’t have to worry about having access to clean running water, electricity in our homes, warm clothing, education for all, and advanced medical care. We have instant communication, multiple forms of entertainment, the right to vote, freedom to express our opinions, and many life choices not available to everyone in the world.
Our home country is a sanctuary to many people. Some are looking for a safe location for their families and the opportunity to work. In the past my Irish ancestors came to America to look for food and shelter. My Italian ancestors came for safety and work. Countless individuals have sought refuge on our shores because we are the good guys. We are free. We’re not perfect but we have opportunities.
It’s easy to take what we have for granted because most of us haven’t known anything else. Give thanks for all we have. Share your good fortune.