In this season in which many of us take the time to remember what we are grateful for, my friend Bonnie Rae at In Search of the Very has written a lovely post called Everything Is Not Fine.
When everything is not fine, she says, be the light. We can do that by being kind, by speaking up, by having conversations, and by loving (truly loving) our neighbors, no matter who they are.
For my part, I am grateful for my last plane flight of 2022, because it will be the last, and I’m tired. But mostly because it is with Pedro to go spend a couple days with two of my brothers and their families. My parents had their issues, but I am blessed with four truly good brothers, and I love each one of them desperately.
I am grateful for the belated education about the US holiday of Thanksgiving, which no longer means a celebration of unconditional love and tolerance between Pilgrims and Indians, as we were taught in elementary school. Rather, it’s a complicated story of an embattled group of citizens who felt the only way to find a better life was to escape from their own country and begin a new life in treacherous conditions. The story has magnified tragedy because the settlers occupied indigenous peoples’ land and harvested resources without permission, and those two groups did not trust each other, and often killed each other. Sometimes friendships between them were made and some generous trades were made, and some inter-group relationships began despite all the pain and difficulty. Despite the ugly beginnings, the descendants of those actors are still here and still living with the consequences of decisions made in the 17th century. I belong to both of those groups and I am grateful for that.
I am also grateful for being led into the LGBTQ community without any choice, and then doing the work required for me to be here and love my people authentically. Being here has helped me love my Indian community better, which in turn has helped me learn what I needed to learn about the inherent racism we all hold to some degree. I have learned how to love all people better, and for that I am grateful.
For that matter, I am grateful for also having found myself in the addicts and former addicts community years ago, so that I could see it from the inside, as a person who loved people who have addictions, and now I am able to love those people better too.
It’s all very hard: to love people you were taught were unlovable, unredeemable people. It’s very hard to discover the judgements you hold inside that you didn’t even know existed. If I had not found myself smack in the middle of some communities, I never would have taken the time to get to know them, and to have the chance to smash my assumptions. So thank goodness for that.
It’s easy to love you, though. You are in my blogosphere and that alone makes me like you more. Have a wonderful week and celebrate or don’t celebrate it any way that seems right. Do follow my friend Bonnie’s advice though, and find a way to put your special mark on the world, by way of a kind word or gesture.
Thank you. ❤
16 thoughts on “Gratitude and Kindness”
What beautiful words, Crystal. 🧡
Thank you, Jolandi. I value your appreciation because I suspect you do not compliment carelessly.
Wonderful Crystal! Love you!
Big hugs to you, David! I love you too. I could have added my gratitude that you are responsible for pulling me more fully into my Indian community, when I was shy and hanging around the outside.
A wise, sensitive, and compassionate post, Crystal
Thank you, Derrick. With your experience working so many years helping people in need, I am sure you have learned a lot about loving others who are different than you. Your kind comment means so much to me because I know your history. Love to you. ❤
You never cease to amaze me with how you come so gracefully to your world. Being a part of the community of others is inspiring and I hope everyone who reads your words will honor you by doing the same. When we see ourselves in the experience of others it brings us closer with shared purpose. Thanks for being who you are in the world and a really big thank you for sharing my words, too. Grateful. Thank you for you 🧡
“Being a part of a community of others.” You distilled the point I was making and I didn’t even realize it. Yes, they are sometimes different than me, but they are my community, “my people” as I like to say. Even my fellow Rainier-dwellers, the Rainierites? the Rainierians? they are not like me, with their Lets Go Brandon flags and their rifle practice in backyards all around me and their country music, but they remind me so much of the folks in the town where I grew up, who were good people. So I call my neighbors my people too. “When we see ourselves in the experience of others…” Yes, this is helpful, and maybe that’s what I’ve been aiming for subconsciously, so that I don’t sit here being angry and freaked out all the time because I don’t understand people. IT IS NOT A GRACEFUL ENDEAVOR. Oh my goodness, Bonnie, I’m a hot mess. I’m currently in therapy right now because of trying to make peace with my kiddo using a new name and wanting top surgery. I’m so confused and distressed and wondering what new revelation my child will have two years down the line when they have grown to understand themselves even further. Note in this post I said I love my people “better,” but not necessarily as well as I could. I will be in class on this topic, doing my research and homework and term papers on it for the rest of my life, I believe. I am grateful for your journey and the way you express it, which is often a prompt for me to think about my own life, and sometimes for me to write about it. I cannot do this alone, and letting others teach me helps a ton, when I listen. 🙂
Beautiful. Thank you for your wise words.
Nancy it is kind of you to take the time to tell me this. You, Derrick and Curt used the word “wise” and it makes me blush because I don’t think of myself as wise, but it is a wise thing, to love others who are different. You are another blogger that I expect would not compliment unless that is what you really felt. Thank you. ❤
Wise words from a wise person, Crystal. And we know that you certainly live by that wisdom. Thanks so much for sharing, and for being a part of our lives. Curt and Peggy
Like I said to Nancy above, the word “wise” catches me off guard, as I don’t think of myself as a wise person. But I cannot doubt your assessment. Curt, like everyone else who has commented already, you have a deep human experience and have let that shape who you are into a better person. You and Peggy both. Your high regard is a gift to me. I am grateful that both of you choose to keep me and Pedro in your sphere. Love, love, love.
You and Pedro make it easy, Crystal, and mutual.
This is one of the most beautiful posts you have written. I can feel your growth as you experience you world of differences. We are all supposed to be different so the world learns these lessons. You have risen to the challenge well and with grace. H. is on her way back home today. I miss her already but the travel is too hard for me now. I’m sure you are resting and have many thoughts about your holiday. We sat peacefully with people who see the world very differently and enjoyed the food and company in spite of it. Sending you both lots of love.
Marlene, you have me blushing again. Thank you for your love. Thank you for saying you can feel my growth. You have probably seen it, too, as some of my best growth has been since we met. Maybe it looks graceful on the outside, but my six-year-old parts are having a tantrum on the inside sometimes. I eventually get over it. Maybe that’s what grace is: letting the tantrum rage inside, but keeping the outside calm until peace is restored and lessons can be learned. It must have been like going to the oasis, to have H with you while you shared the season with so many others who are different. I’m glad she was there and you could share an inner wink with each other. Living in Show Low must be similar to living in Rainier. I love you. Here’s hoping the time till our next meeting flies by. Big squishy hugs, my friend. ❤