As we approach the holiday season, I find myself feeling an unusual sense of gratitude this year.
Of course, I’m grateful for this wonderful life. My wife, Brandi, is brilliant and beautiful and makes every day better. Our kids- Alex (21), Britain (19), Emily (19), and Jaxon (12)-are growing up and leaning into the people they have decided to be without the burden of religious shame weighing them down.
My Mom was able to buy her first house on her own this year. She absolutely loves it and we couldn’t be happier for her. Unfortunately, that house is almost ten hours from ours, but we talk daily and are making plans to see each other soon.
This year, Brandi, Britain, Emily, Jaxon, and I all relocated to the Orlando area from our beloved home near Navarre Beach. Britain and Emily moved down here in January to participate in the Disney College Program and we followed in May. I still miss our life in Navarre every day, but we have a beautiful home surrounded by exotic trees and wildlife near Orlando close to Disney and we have been putting our annual passes to good use since we got down here.
The adult kids all have significant others that we love and it feels like our family is growing beyond the original boundaries which we are really excited about.
I’m also grateful for meaningful work that I love. At the non-profit that I work for, we get to serve people in dire circumstances and provide them with the support and guidance they need to achieve stability of life. It’s an incredible honor!
The Changing World Around Us
The world is changing. Covid-19 is starting to feel like a distant memory-although we’ll never forget those we lost to that horrible virus or those who continue to suffer from it. But in many ways, American society has largely moved beyond the pandemic era.
This week, Israel and Hamas agreed to a four-day respite in the war that has been slaughtering innocents for the last 47 days. I pray that those who need food, water, medical care, and to mourn their dead will find it in them during this temporary ceasefire. There are reports that the break in fighting will extend 1 day for every 10 hostages that Hamas releases in the days to come. If that proves to be the case, what will happen once all hostages are freed? The world waits.
In the midst of the current fog of war, I find myself grateful for our evolving collective human consciousness. In a deep sense, I feel that humanity is slowly coming to grips with our shared connection and moving toward a day when we will no longer identify ourselves solely based on what flag we are born under or which politician we voted for in the last election. Somehow, someway we will find a way to come together as one to solve the very real problems of poverty, hunger, disease, and war.
I’m looking forward to 2024 and the hope it brings that the world can be made new again.
What are you most grateful for this Thanksgiving?