It is Thanksgiving weekend in Canada, and just like I do every year, I am sitting here thinking of all the things I am thankful for. We are asked this question every year at this time, and spiritual people ask it of themselves every single day. Sometimes your life is topsy turvy and you honestly can’t think of anything to be thankful for. No matter what your life situation is, there is ALWAYS something you are grateful for.
I am Canadian! I am very thankful for this. I am thankful that I live in a country where we are allowed freedom of speech and freedom of religion. I am thankful for the diversity of culture brought to us by people who came to North America to escape religious persecution and genocide. I embrace their beliefs and experiences and truly feel their emotions; the joy and the pain that they bring with them to this wonderful new land. I am appalled by the things they had to endure in their home countries, but I see what is happening right here in our “free” and “safe” world. Fundamentalist Christians are negating the rights of other people by protesting the beliefs of other children of God, telling them they are dying because they are gay. I believe that everyone has a right to their own opinion and belief system, but not when it is harmful to others.
I am thankful that I live in this enlightened new millenium! I am grateful to the women who forged ahead fighting for the rights of all women, some of them in my own lifetime. I appreciate that I, as a woman, am free to make my own choices and follow my own path. Yet, I also feel the burden of such a responsibility. If I choose to be a stay at home mom and homemaker, I am sometimes made to feel that I am not contributing to our new society. I feel just as shunned for those choices as my Great-Grandmother might have, had she chosen a life in politics.
I am thankful for our safe neighborhoods, and that my children have the privilege of receiving education in peace. I am thankful for all of the parents like myself who have taken active roles in abolishing bullying. So how do the children feel while they are being bullied on the school grounds and the streets? The responsibility has not been taken seriously enough by some. It breaks my heart when I hear of a child committing suicide or murder thanks to our vigilance over bullying.
I am thankful that I live in a time when we all understand what it means to take responsibility over our own actions. Through the great strides in psychology and stricter laws, every law breaker understands that they have the right to a fair trial. What rights do the victims have when they face their attacker time and again because they escaped punishment due to a technicality or imagined neuroses?
I am thankful that I am free to share my opinion without judgment, even though some of you will judge my words harshly. My wish for this thanksgiving season is that you all think about what you are thankful for, and to accurately gauge how strong the willingness is in your heart to truly fight for those things.