I’ve been thinking about the sentiment of thankfulness as the Thanksgiving holiday comes closer. Real original, I know. Particularly, this hot political climate has got me thinking about it. Yes, I am becoming one of those people who is going to preach about what’s going on right now. Bear with me, please.
Our country is clearly divided. We all know this. We are fighting with one another so badly it’s come to the point where people cannot discuss their political views civilly and to the point where going on Facebook is like opening up everyone’s diaries. I guess people have never been able to discuss political views civilly. You know what they say, never discuss politics or religion. But here we are. This time around it is so publicized it’s hard not to notice, considering all the social media platforms.
If you support one candidate you are this nasty word, if you support the other than you are this nasty word. There have been many nasty words passed around, especially by the candidates, unfortunately, one of whom was actually dubbed a “nasty woman.” And the other who is, well, just plain old nasty and he’s now our President. Anyway, I digress. I’m not going to write about who I was in favor of, that’s not what this is about.
Due to this election, families and friends have developed grudges towards one another and everyone and their mother (literally) is posting about it on the Internet, myself included. Yes, people are free to express their opinions. Freedom of speech is one of the great things about this country. I am currently putting my freedom of speech into action by writing this post. But it makes me sad that these opinions are so hostile, so hateful. It’s become clear to me that this hateful rhetoric has come about because people have been unhappy for a long time. The way to solve our unhappiness is not to spread hate. Didn’t we learn this when we were children? The solution is to speak calmly to one another and express our concerns. The solution is not to sit behind our computers and bash people through the Internet. The solution is to physically get out into the world and interact with others. We need to lean on one another to make this better. United we stand, divided we fall. This statement means so much right now and we will definitely fall if we continue down this path of divisiveness.
The day after the election, my sister-in-law Mary gave birth to a beautiful boy named Joseph. As I held Joseph in my arms, I watched his little nose twitch and listened to him grunt and make soft baby noises. There really is nothing more special than holding a newborn baby. It’s awe inspiring every time. I thought, wow, the night before I was watching slanderous election commercials and election coverage from multiple news sources. I was filled with all sorts of emotion, a lot of anger and confusion and, now, less than 24hours later, I was holding new life in my arms. The feeling of joy and love was bubbling inside me. How lucky is this baby, I thought to myself. Little Joseph is brand new. He has no preconceptions of this world. He doesn’t know the hate that has circulated in this country. How lucky is he that at this moment, all he knows is love. I looked around the room. Mary was in her bed smiling as John, Grace, and Leo hugged her and snuggled with her. My big brother was watching me hold Joseph, a smile so big on his face you would think it would crack. My parents and Mary’s parents sat nearby, proudly chatting about how beautiful their new grandson was. This was a room filled with love. The Beatles said it best when they sang, “all you need is love.” It’s so true! All this little baby needed to do was be there and he calmed us, made all of us smile, helped us forget about the craziness going on in the world. He spread so much love just by being himself. I felt so incredibly thankful, so thankful that I got to experience this again. So thankful that everyone was happy and healthy.
Joseph, without even knowing he did it, made me realize how maybe we have all forgotten how to be thankful. Sure the election didn’t go the way some of us thought it would and many people are scared and confused as to what we are as a country and what will happen to them, but let us be thankful that we have the freedom to choose our candidates. We have the freedom to fight for what we want our country to be. Let us be thankful we have air in our lungs, brains that allow us to think, and hearts that allow us to feel. But let us not let hate overtake our hearts. Let’s look at this in a way that allows us to reevaluate who we are as a country. I know this is easier said than done and others are struggling in more ways than I could ever imagine. I am living a charmed life thus far, and I really don’t have much of a right to preach on anything. But I truly think concentrating on what we are thankful for can guide us out of darkness and into light.
So here’s a thanks to baby Joseph and all the newborn babies out there. Thanks for sharing with us your innocence and love. Thanks for reminding us to be thankful.