IT’S THE SMALL THINGS
On Thursday is American Thanksgiving. Although by custom it is not celebrated here in the Philippines, more people have adapted the tradition of serving turkey and gathering around the dinner table to give thanks on this day. Falling right smack in the middle of the Christmas season here, in pre-pandemic times, it would be the perfect excuse for yet another dinner and family gathering. Whatever the case may be, it has grown to be one of my favorite holidays as it is a reminder to give thanks – for what has been, what is, and what will be.
As with many other things, I am sure Thanksgiving celebrations will be very different this year – both here and in the United States. But what stays the same is our notion of gratefulness and giving thanks. So as I ponder about what am I grateful for, most especially in times of crisis and uncertainty in the midst of a global pandemic, a lot of things crossed my mind. But beyond the good health and safety of my family, friends, loved ones, and myself, among other things like being able to spend more time with those who matter, having four walls and a sturdy roof to live in and under, having been spared by the wrath of the last three typhoons, starting a new chapter of my life despite the many humps and hurdles this year brought, the list goes on…. What got me thinking was how blessed I am to be able to be in a position of gratefulness despite everything that the year has brought about. I realized that now more than ever, it is not as easy for everyone to share in my sentiment and look for the silver lining.
That is because being grateful is also a privileged check, most especially at a time of a pandemic, exacerbated by three consecutive typhoons. In being grateful, we must also understand why others have turned bitter, have strong disdain and resentment for what has befallen them, have lost faith, and question the existence of a greater being. If we find ourselves in a position where we can be grateful, we must also make the effort to be empathetic and compassionate. Now more than ever, it is a time to give back – do we truly understand the plight of those going through extra hardships at a time already so challenging?
Going beyond the gratitude of acknowledging what you are blessed with, you must also fully understand and be aware of what others are deprived of, and challenge the systems that perpetuate that deprivation to make it better for others. One does not need to be an elected official to engage in public service, or become an agent of change. You are capable of being the light in someone’s life and a disciple of well-being just by being kind to someone who may have had a hard day. At a time when people are extra emotional, feathers are ruffled and nerves are fraught, be the catalyst of positivity that shows them there is always something to be grateful for, albeit sometimes in the cracks, or in between the lines. And if you are at a position where you can be the agent of transformative change, consider yourself blessed, and channel that energy towards doing something greater for someone, or a community who really could use that good energy and intent.