Making the world a kinder place one choice at a time

Published 3:08 pm Friday, November 24, 2023

By Chris Adams

Thanksgiving has come and gone by the time you’ve read this article. But I’m writing it before, which is something of a strange headspace. It’s us sharing something together but from profoundly different perspectives.  Or not, and I could simply be confusing profound reflections with my hunger for cherry pie. I suppose it’s here I must admit that I’m a cherry guy, not much for pumpkin.  I’ll forgive you for putting my article away if that’s what you need to do!

So, speaking of, what does this celebration actually mean? To you, in particular. Myths and legends surround its early days, but its establishment as a federal holiday was done with openly religious language. Yet not everyone is religious, so there’s must be a way to understand a different kind of meaning. Though not everyone would agree with giving thanks to God, I wonder if more folks could with the idea that we all share a responsibility to use our blessings well and for the betterment of our neighbor. We don’t all have to agree with who should get our thanks, but can we all agree on what to do with our blessings?

Don’t you want to live in a better world than this one? Don’t you want to live in a world where you can assume that your neighbor feels the same way, that we all deserve respect and kindness? I’m not naïve in believing this kind of world will come to pass over night, but I have to assume it’s possible. Otherwise, why would any of us ever do anything for the kindness of another?

But I’m betting on your kindness. I’m sure everyone of you reading this can point to a time in your life when you did act kindly toward another. What’s stopping you from making the choice to be kinder and more loving again? What’s stopping you from deciding to make the kinder choice just a few more times a day? That’s how the world can be saved, when we make the choice to love our neighbor as ourselves and see everyone as worthy of our love.

I’m giving thanks for you this year. That you are here, alive, and able to make the world a kinder place, one choice at a time. One kindness at a time. I’m giving thanks for those who spend their lives for the sake of others, especially those who rarely get credit. Like janitors who work overnight to make sure things are clean in the morning, and the addiction counselors who pull lives out of the abyss and set feet upon solid ground. Let’s celebrate soup kitchen directors and social workers who journey with folks in some of their darkest days. I’m giving thanks for everybody who is going to decide to be their best self to help others be their best selves. We are all counting on each other.

Chris Adams is the Rector at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Washington.