Believe it or not, a non-political Thanksgiving message is indeed possible and especially needed today, and in these times.
While it sometimes feels as if we are surrounded by pain, tragedy, and sorrow, it is essential that we take a day or two to rest and reflect on the good in the world, lest we risk getting buried in that darkness.
When children are lost and families plunge into despair, seeing the good in the world may seem an impossible task. My own father never made it to the age I am today. And to the great sadness of my family, my older brother left the world far sooner than anyone thought possible.
On days like this, those of us who are fortunate to live in a privileged bubble without hunger, sickness, pain or sorrow, often feel guilty and undeserving of our good fortune.
In my core, I know that those of us who have more, are bound to offer our hand to those who through no fault of their own, have less. We are all in this together, and the notion that we live in a world where it’s “every man/woman for himself/herself” is one I reject.
If we each track our genealogy back far enough, you will find we are all related.
My heart, and yes my prayers as well go out to those who because of sorrow, sadness or circumstances, may feel that celebrating a day of Thanksgiving is not possible. Life has dealt me moments of darkness and great stress as well. But somehow I survived and grew stronger, pushed onward by the basic knowledge that the sun always comes up the next day. My mother would tell me that God has a plan and that things happen for a reason – though more often than not I could not fathom what that plan or reason might be.
I am blessed today with a loving and growing family. I live in one of the most beautiful places imaginable and am surrounded by friends and colleagues united in the common purpose of making our world a better place. I cannot remember the last time that I awoke to anything less than total excitement about the day ahead.
Yes, I have much to be grateful for, and many, many people to thank.
I am grateful to those who work and fight daily for justice. Whether your focus is on economic, social, environmental or cultural issues – mahalo plenty for all that you do.
It is often said that work in politics, “is a thankless job.” For me, I have not found that to be the case. While the work is not without its stress and sometimes vocal detractors, the aloha and support expressed to me daily by residents from all walks of life, easily overwhelm any negatives.
Please know that I am deeply appreciative of the many, many people in our collective community who have supported and helped me over the years. From those of you who have voted for me in past elections to those who continue to help and support the advocacy work I am doing on Kauai and throughout the State – I offer you my deepest gratitude. The faith and confidence you have placed in me, and the honor you have given me via your personal help and support – make me a better person and help keep me on track.
I tell people that I am stuck in a positive feedback loop – and you are part of it.
Have a Happy Thanksgiving. Celebrate if you can. Reach out and offer your love and aloha, and whatever support you are able – to help those in need and who may be suffering.
Hug your family, hug your friends – tell all who care to listen of your thanks and gratitude to simply be alive.
Slightly edited from a column first published in The Garden Island newspaper, 11/27/19