On Being Thankful

Posted on: November 29th, 2012
There are two things about me that have been on my mind lately.

The first is that when I took the Strength Finder survey last year, one of my Top 5 is Connectedness.  I wasn’t too surprised by this.  I try to write letters/emails/notes to friends when I can.  I get sucked into Facebook and other social media outlets all the time.  I used to talk for several hours with friends from around the globe, but with the rise of social media and texting, those conversations don’t happen quite so often.

The second is that I keep lists.  Lots of people do, so I don’t feel weird about it.  Some of my lists are of the “to do” variety while others are lists of things I want to accomplish or see in my life.  Some of the lists are only a few items long and probably don’t warrant a list while others stretch over pages and pages.

My longest list is a list that I began fifteen years ago.  It is on my computer and every couple of days I add to it.  It is this list that has been tugging on my mind.  The list is entitled: Things I’m Thankful For. And when I started in in high school, I didn’t think it would take on the life that it has.  In my list, there are songs, memories, people I’ve known, students I’ve mentored, and friends with whom I’ve stayed up late at night, family members, and people who have annoyed the crap out of me!

I have over 1000 items in my list and some of the names it takes me a minute to remember who they are or why I wrote them down.  But each name on that list has helped to shape me into the man I am.

So what does this has to do with social justice?

In my opinion social injustice has two roots causes: ignorance and intolerance.  Both terms are pretty similar and both lead people to close themselves off to diversity and experiences that mold and shape them.  Many of the items on my list are not happy experiences; some are downright painful and I shed quite a few tears getting through them.  However, they still expanded my thoughts and opinions and made me realize how important my inter-connectedness is with everyone around me.

Martin Luther King Jr. once said “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”  I would expand on this and say that an injustice to anyone is a threat to justice to everyone.  If I didn’t keep my list, I would forget how many of those items were focused on attacking social injustice.  If I didn’t keep my list, I would forget all those people I have journeyed with in ending those social injustices.  Most importantly, if I didn’t keep my list, I would forget the importance of staying connected to those individuals as we journey in life together.

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