Monday, July 15, 2024


For some in this world, having fertile soil capable of producing food would be unimaginable. Access to fresh, drinkable water would be a blessing. Electric lights would seem like a miracle.
In parts of the world, things that seem commonplace to us are completely out of reach. A park where children can play without fear of triggering a landmine. Schools with a roof, trained teachers, desks and books. A medical clinic that could prevent a minor cut or an insect bite from becoming a life-threatening experience.
There are places where things we take for granted seem unattainable. Freedom of speech. The rule of law. A justice system. Opportunities to earn a living. The ability to elect and replace governments by peaceful means.
Here, in our part of the planet, nestled between the foothills of the Laurentians and the Ottawa River, we have much for which to be grateful. Whether due to good luck, hard work or the grace of God, here we are in a beautiful place, living in peace, with lots to eat and, generally speaking, access to the means to address problems as they arise, be they a leak in the roof, a health concern, a criminal act or a politician running amok.
In short, we have hope that even when things go sideways, we will be able to make them better.
Hope is not something everyone in this world experiences. For far too many of our fellow humans, there is no prospect things will improve, there is no way out.
Thanksgiving is a time when we acknowledge our good fortune. And it can be more. It presents an opportunity to challenge ourselves to understand what is happening elsewhere. To see the network of processes and forces in the world that prevent some people from experiencing the rights, privileges and comforts we enjoy. To work through the complexity of it in conversations with our families and friends, and with ourselves. To be committed to seeing the nuances, to challenging our own inner narratives about what is good and what is bad, to allow our thoughts to take us to places of discomfort.
Thanksgiving presents an opportunity to channel our gratitude into considering big questions with the people closest to us, to deepen our awareness of the sources of our well-being and how the benefits of the lives we are able to live can be spread to more of the people with whom we share this planet.

Charles Dickson and Sophie Kuijper Dickson


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