I'm warm. Dry. Well-fed. So are my husband, children, and those closest to me. Even the family pets have enough to eat and somewhere warm to sleep.
It's tempting to think, 'Good for me. I've worked hard, and I deserve to harvest the fruits of that labor.'
But what about the mother in Houston, or Oakland--or even Damascus--who works equally hard to provide a good home for her children? She risks so much more than me, dodging bullets to go to work at her second job, walking home though violent streets late at night. Doesn't she deserve to know her kids are safe when she tucks them in this Thanksgiving Night?
Can I really say my efforts are the reason we're enjoying a peaceful holiday when I've done nothing more dangerous than write a check to Safeway?
Truth is, I'm lucky. I was born to two stable, loving parents in a country with good infrastructure and decent public schools. I wasn't abused as a child. Or neglected. Or starved. My folks insisted I could do anything I put my mind to. They encouraged me, guided me. And when it came time to attend college and start my own business, total strangers were willing to lend me money.
Yeah, I've been successful.
But I didn't hit a triple; I was born on third base.
Nick Kristof's piece today in the New York Times says it masterfully:
"As we celebrate Thanksgiving, let’s remember that the difference between being surrounded by a loving family or being homeless on the street is determined not just by our own level of virtue or self-discipline, but also by an inextricable mix of luck, biography, brain chemistry and genetics."
Today, as I spread whipped cream on the second pie I'm bringing to the family celebration, I want to rededicate myself to making sure everyone who inhabits this tiny blue planet has the same opportunities I do; that every mother, father, and child of humanity gets to experience the comfort and warmth of Thanksgiving...
Cheers...and Happy Thanksgiving!