Airports. A hub of humanity where no one wants to look you in the eye. Great people watching, you have to admit. Last weekend, I traveled to Houston for my niece’s 16th birthday masquerade ball. What a fabulous trip. I got to hug my family – my mom, sister, brother, sister-in-law, nieces, aunts, uncle, and cousins. A 72 hour trip consisting of 22 hours of travel, 15 hours of sleep and lots of talking. I am still recovering.
My favorite people in airports are kids. Many of you are thinking, “those are the noise makers on every flight.” Correct, but they are also the cutest, happiest people in the airport. All of the little ones I smiled at in the airports smiled back at me. They light-up and are eager to interact. The adults, well…not so much. I did have a cordial interaction with an elderly woman in a wheelchair at the gate in Baltimore. She was across the aisle in the gate area and made eye contact with me. I smiled and said, “Hello.” I always say that much. The only other interaction was with a nine-month-old little girl who tried to grab my neck pillow on the jetway. I turned and smiled. She thought that was hilarious. Her parents apologized that she grabbed my pillow. I told them there was nothing to worry about. I expressed my appreciation for the little lady’s sweet smile. They were nervous she wouldn’t sleep on the flight. I assured them that we would get to Houston – whether she sleeps or not. She is likely to give up and rest eventually. The baby did not look like that was possible at 8:00 p.m.. Happy to report, no screaming babies. The little one fell asleep quickly. I was grateful!
Why am I boring you with all of this? Good question. I want to remind us that life continues on. We survived the election results. No matter who you voted for, you are still an American. You are still sharing the planet with me, so let’s just be thankful for one another. There is no need for division amongst us. Politics divides us. Mission unites us. We must ask ourselves what we want for our families, our community, our nation and our world. Let’s prioritize.
I bet we can all agree that we want to feel safe. My main goal as a mom is to keep my kids safe. I want them fed, happy, healthy and engaged in life. I bet you do, too. Safety first, right?! We can differ on how to keep ourselves and our country safe, but we all can agree that achieving safety through peaceful measures is better than hostile measures. Our government’s role here is important. We may not agree on immigration policies, border policies or how to deal with terror, but we all can agree we want to feel safe.
Ok, next goal? How about eating. I like to eat – maybe too much. I want all of us to have access to healthy, clean food. Since this is Thanksgiving week, I want to ensure that I have food in the house and my neighbor does, too. This is where we can reach out and bring a meal to those less fortunate, to a neighbor, a college student who stayed in town for Thanksgiving, etc.
Next? How about water? I want to have safe water. Check! How do we achieve these goals? We need to take a good hard look at the impacts of chemicals in our food and water. We need to clean up our food and water supplies. The more organic we eat, the better. Some of my scientist friends are disagreeing right now. Check back with me in 15 years and let’s talk then about the negative effects of the chemicals we are ingesting and breathing.
There is no dispute that chemicals in our water supply make us sick. We have all seen Erin Brockovich, right? Look, this isn’t rocket science. Our bodies work hard to shed the chemicals we ingest or absorb. There is no reason that we should make our bodies work harder than necessary. Systems fail and we get sick. We have to be willing to call out the government’s own watchdogs and let the world know they aren’t doing their jobs. We can’t stand idly by and watch our natural resources be demolished by folks watching their bottom line more than the family downstream. Look, the government is imperfect and not doing the job well. Let’s not be afraid to say that.
I have probably surprised a fair few of my inner circle by this point. I am unabashedly conservative. Many folks who are not on the conservative side of the political aisle may think that I wouldn’t have any concern for the environment, peaceful worldwide interactions, etc. They’d be wrong.
Next goal for me – Live by faith. This is an area ripe with areas of disagreement. That is ok. I believe the way I do. You believe the way you do. Ok. You won’t find me rioting in the streets about it. I don’t hate anyone because of what God (or lack thereof) they choose worship. I believe that Jesus is the Way. I believe He came to Earth, died on the cross and rose again. I believe he is my Savior. Faith is a deeply personal choice. Let’s respect each other. No hating. No fearmongering. No shoving your beliefs down my throat, and none of that from me to you, either. It is ok to believe differently.
The real key here is thankfulness. Let’s take time this week to be grateful for what we have. We have life for today. We have hope for a future. We have friends. I am thankful for my husband, my kids, my family, my home, food, water, my community, and my opportunities to help others. I am thankful that I have the opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus to those around me.
My prayer for all of us is that we embrace gratitude and focus on how we can be positive change in the world. Happy Thanksgiving.