I woke up this morning with a song running through my head, over and over. It goes like this:
“I cannot do all the good that the world needs
But the world needs all the good that I can do.”
I heard it in church the other day. It stuck with me, with its catchy little melody not to mention the message that kept tugging at my sleeve. It’s by a songwriter named Jana Stanfield. If you want it running through your head too, here’s a little sample to get you started. (Caution: earworm!)
Since we’re in Thanksgiving mode, it crossed my mind that it was an odd choice of songs to stick in my head. This is Thanksgiving, after all! Gratitude is the order of the day. Pilgrims, Natives, hats with buckles, big roasted birds… Pies! Hey, we know the drill. We all know how it went down, right?
Maybe not exactly. This entertaining little video carries more than its fair share of uncomfortable and mostly-untold history along with the silly jokes.
Oh. Um, yes, we’re thankful for that. But seriously now — we’re still thankful for peace in our land, thankful for abundance, thankful for friends and family, thankful for blessings so fully bestowed in our Land of the Free. My friend Scott said, referring to that iconoclastic video, “We have the opportunity to reframe this. Let’s acknowledge the history. The true history. Then let’s go forward with the expression of gratitude the holiday has become… Make sure you go around the table and name what you are grateful for.” I like that advice.
Thinking back on those Pilgrims, though… tough situation for all concerned, whether you serve it up with or without the dressing. Immigrants they were, or you could say refugees. (I’m still stuck on that subject, can’t let it go.) Last month and the month before I wrote about the current wave of refugees trying to escape war and persecution. Since then we’ve had attention-getting violence in Beirut, Paris, and Nigeria. There may have been more. Oh yes, in Syria.
A wave of anxiety and fear has started to encroach upon the generosity and open-hearted sympathy that some people had started to feel for those fleeing the violence in the Mideast. Now some of that generosity has started to turn to stone, hardening in place and paralyzing any possibility of compassionate assistance. For my part, I don’t want to live like that.
“Thanksgiving, after all, is a word of action.”