For me personally, Thanksgiving may be the most important holiday celebration on the calendar. In my memory, Thanksgiving was primarily a celebration of friendship and a time to reflect on the bounties, big and small, born of a strength in community – a strength that was fortified by the diverse talents and experiences that enabled goodness even in times of great difficulty and uncertainty.
I remember having Thanksgiving in my grandmother’s house growing up. We celebrated with a feast for sure, often at several tables simultaneously with 30 or more people spread around the house, all day. In that celebration, everyone contributed something to the effort. All the while, my grandmother would quietly impress upon us to reflect on even the smallest of things to be grateful for, in our lives, in the lives of the people we cared about and in the world. She had a gift that way and from that gift I was given first-hand insights to the Battle of the Bulge, the Great Depression, the Civil Rights movement, the development of the polio vaccine and so much more.
This year, I find myself looking around and all too often I feel distracted by pain and conflict in our world. I know we mustn’t look away from suffering and evil, and in fact, we should look in and help to find ways for all of us to become a light that indicates a way toward peace: peace in our lives, in our work and in our world. At the same time, while we have to acknowledge what must become better, we equally should feel drawn to notice, honor and uphold the many blessings all around us. Being thankful is not to ignore harsh reality. It’s to recognize the beauty that lives within it, at the very least on a day that asks for almost nothing else.
I for one am incredibly grateful for the work that I am fortunate to do among this larger community that we make at Front Porch. I am particularly grateful for the openness and kindness that people throughout our organization have afforded me since the day I arrived. To be sure, the work that is done here can be challenging at times. But our shared commitments to one another, and to carving a better way in community together, can give us inspiration and strength.
As in my grandmother’s house, we all contribute something to the effort. And we are given the blessing of insights from diverse perspectives across generations.
I wish you and yours a joyful and blessed Thanksgiving with every hope that we can brighten our lights to not only illuminate our own path, but shed light for others around us as well.
Sean M. Kelly, CEO