Friday, November 25, 2016

A new gratitude

Thanksgiving is traditionally an opportunity to focus on all the blessings in our lives, but I have to confess that was a bit of a challenge this year. It's not that I don't see the blessings, it's just that there's a lot of darkness looming in the world right now and it's hard to see beyond it to whatever light awaits.

So I'm doubly grateful that -- in light of my husband's pain and our unreliable oven -- we kept Thanksgiving simple this year. It was a first, I think: no guests, no friends, no family but our own and even that reduced to one daughter, as the other's on the other coast, visiting with friends close to her job.

The food, provided by the clever chef at a local convenience store and heated in our microwave, was utterly delicious, but the conversation -- ah, the conversation...

I've been so sad, that all our work to make the world a better place seems to have come to naught.  But now, looking through my daughter's eyes, I realize my vision's been short-sighted; that in fact the work we did has had its desired effect, and there is hope -- it's just not quite how we visualized the end result.

I wish I could have recorded her exact words, but I'll do my best to paraphrase them here. She believes our greatest accomplishments have been to raise a whole generation with egalitarian values; that what we said as parents, and what we insisted should be taught in schools, has left an indelible mark upon the souls of the future. She believes that mark, coupled with our incredible advances in technology, which make it possible for people to speak out, for information to be shared and connections to be made, are what have allowed us to see more clearly the ugliness in the world; the ugliness that for so long lay hidden beneath a surface of lying words and covert actions.

In essence, she believes it wasn't our generation's job to fix things, but rather to expose them, and we've actually accomplished that, and now can pass the torch to her generation to take whatever steps come next.  Utopia, the new consciousness, the Age of Aquarius, may not have arrived in my lifetime, but I can at least know we helped to lay important groundwork for the future yet to come.

Which doesn't mean our work is done, but still it gives me hope to think the world that lies ahead of her may not be quite so dark; that around this narrow bend in time there may be the light we dreamed of; that just because, like the Israelites in the desert, we may not see that promised land, that doesn't mean it's not waiting for our children to explore.

To summarize -- which I needed to do for the facebook version of this blog --

I've been so sad, that all our work
to make the world a better place
seems to have come to naught.
But, looking through my children's eyes,
I now see the foundations
that we've laid for them have every hope
of carrying us through this dark and narrow place
into great light. I may not live to see the Promised Land,
but now believe again it lies ahead, 
and for that revelation I'm truly thankful.

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