There’s no way to sugar coat it – the last few weeks, and really much longer, have been harrowing. From the ongoing crisis in Syria and large scale attacks in Paris, to bombings in Beirut and Nigeria to, most recently, the fatal stabbing of several innocent people in Israel, each day one wakes up wondering what the news will bring.
In light of so many tragedies, it seems incongruous, nearly impossible, to celebrate a holiday – particularly Thanksgiving, which honors everything we are grateful for in our lives. But perhaps Thanksgiving, a time when we join together with friends and family, can serve as an antidote to the heinous images and realities coming through our screens. And, even more powerfully, perhaps it can be a rallying cry that reminds us, when it comes to fighting back – with love, with acceptance of others, peace, and compassion – there is no time to wait.
The names of the attackers are inconsequential, but the love we share with one another in times of tragedy, as well as in times of joy, means the world. Here are a few ways to make this Thanksgiving one of healing.
Share resources. There are many compiled lists on the internet – like this one – that provide opportunities to help the attacked communities begin to heal. Find one, and if you’re able, help.
Share space. In Canada, a synagogue community recently opened its doors to the congregation of a nearby mosque that was struck by arson. How might you carve out a little space at your table, or in your life, for someone different than you?
Share music. Music (and art in general) is unique in its ability to bring solace and comfort to people in grief. If a song touches you and brings you a bit of peace, share it with family and friends. Let them know you have them in mind.
Share food. Use this time of acute pain as even more excuse to give to others. Make a donation of time or money to a soup kitchen, food pantry, or a domestic or international food justice organization.
Share stories. Most likely you read something recently in the news that made you shed tears of grief or confusion. Perhaps you also read a story that surprised or warmed you – the story of someone reaching out amidst the darkness to help someone else. Bring those stories of pain and soothing to your Thanksgiving dinner. Honor them out loud at the table.
Share heart. The victims of these tragedies, no matter wher they live or what their circumstances are, are just like us: human. This Thanksgiving, and beyond, keep them in your heart.