By Andy CastroLang
It is days after the Ferguson verdict. There is hurt and pain and outrage. It’s not good, in Ferguson, MO or Chicago, or Austin, Texas.
We have injustice and fear and homelessness and suicide and despair in our land, in our city too.
We have children who aren’t getting enough to eat, and elders neither. We have broken homes and marriages, it may even feel that our government systems are broken.
I beg to differ. I will give thanks today. I will celebrate our community today. I will not admit to despair. So, listen up! I have a litany of thanks for my city. I invite you to consider your own litany of thanksgiving, while I share mine with you now.
We have a police chief and a county sheriff who are good people. We have cops who care, firefighters who serve selflessly, medical professionals who serve and serve and serve in our hospitals, in CHAS clinics, in the Christ Clinic, all over the city.
We have marriage equality in our city and in our state. We have a Human Rights Commission, and a police ombudsman, we have the Center for Justice that took on the Otto Zehm case, and the Riverkeeper program that works to preserve our river both clean and lovely, a natural beauty we can all enjoy and celebrate. We have the great good fortune to be surrounded by astonishing and diverse natural beauty just minutes beyond our doors.
We have Tom’s Turkey Drive, collecting over 11,000 turkeys for families to enjoy; and we have the largest Tree of Sharing in the United States, distributing over 6,000 gifts at Christmastime each year. We have neighborhood councils and “complete streets”; and we are working on “smart justice” for our jail. If you don’t know these programs, then look them up because they deserve your support. So, how is your litany going? Let’s continue!
We have citizens who agree to be taxed for beautiful parks, libraries that are open, pools that are a treat to swim in. We have art galleries and street art; we have the trash eating goat! We have street music and we have grand scale concerts, the Spokane Symphony, Mozart in Manito, the Bing, the Fox and we have “Pig Out in the Park.”
We have community colleges, and universities. A med school, nursing school, dental school.
I invite you to consider, that we have much to be thankful for in our city of Spokane; in this community and in the communities we build throughout our town and our region. We believe in a better world, and we are working to create what we believe in!
In flashes of wisdom we can see that: We have each other, and in the words of Brene Brown, the social work researcher, if we are courageous, we have the opportunity to turn toward one another, rather than turning on one another.
Let us celebrate this community, not just today, or on Thanksgiving, or during Christmas, but day after day after day. Work for it, join in with others to build it up in peace and in beauty, in harmony with creation and one another.
Please join me in this prayer, from the Franciscan community of women and men, within the Christian tradition:
May God bless us with discomfort
At easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships
So that we may live from deep within our hearts.
May God bless us with anger
At injustice, oppression, and exploitation of God’s creations
So that we may work for justice, freedom, and peace.
May God bless us with tears
To shed for those who suffer pain, rejection, hunger, and war,
So that we may reach out our hands to comfort them and
To turn their pain into joy.
And may God bless us with just enough foolishness
To believe that we can make a difference in the world,
So that we can do what others claim cannot be done:
To bring justice and kindness to all our children and all our neighbors who are poor.
- “Jezebel” or “Healer”? - February 4, 2021
- Liars, Traitors, Cowards: Say Their Names - January 14, 2021
- The Wisdom Of The Elders. They’ve Seen This Before. - January 8, 2021
- On this holiday, let’s vow to heal America - July 4, 2020
- We’ve heard you outside Planned Parenthood. Now will you listen to me? - March 3, 2020
- Jesus didn’t yell into the “echo chamber” - September 10, 2019
- Becoming a warming center because of people willing to help - December 21, 2018
- Raising Men Who Reject Toxic Masculinity - May 31, 2018
- Silence the anger and add forgiveness, mercy to the media conversations - April 10, 2018
- Viewpoints: Thanksgiving Traditions - November 29, 2017