19 Thanks for 2019
Probably like many of you, I've spent some time this Thanksgiving gaining insight from my Native writer and journalist friends - about ways we can gain a deeper understanding of American mistreatment and oppression of native people, and how we often brushed over that mistreatment by telling untrue fables about the first Thanksgiving.
As a Minnesotan, where our greatest state sin is not Southern slavery but our systemic brutalization of native Minnesota tribes, I feel these stories deeply. They weigh on me this Thanksgiving, at a time in America when it seems so many of our trusted national narratives are under assault. Everything is becoming nuanced, and yet I'm reminded - often through my public school teacher mom and brother - that many of the students they work with are immigrants, who still believe strongly in the promise of America.
I still believe in this promise too -- and I'm a believer that even flawed narratives can and must be redeemed. So this Thanksgiving - I'm choosing to lean into the idea of gratitude, and also the ways that this holiday can represent the value of families and loved ones sharing a meal together, something perhaps rooted more in Christian than American tradition.
In this meal, we pause. Pausing is tough these days. There's always more you could be doing - more you could be learning or growing or exercising or cooking or parenting or planning or saving. But we'll pause and for a moment take stock and be grateful.
This year, standing at the precipice of turning 35 in 2020 and officially embracing middle adulthood, when I take this moment to take stock, I find myself overwhelmed by an overflowing waterfall of gratitude.
I sit here this Thanksgiving Eve morning, gazing at my Christmas tree filled with basketball ornaments and pictures of Jacob in church preschool angel costumes, while my husband shovels outside and the snow silently falls. When I think of Thanksgiving, my heart near explodes.
This year, I want to embrace the specific. So often we give our thanks in general: my family, my health. This year, I want to list the specific things that fill my heart this holiday, remembering that redemption almost always begins with love.