Today is Thanksgiving.
I wonder, sometimes, if we ever really realize the weight of this day. Like Christmas, it is a day of peace and gratitude and humility. I just got back from watching Mockingjay – Part 2 last night and that movie (which was phenomenal, by the way) really just drove home something that’s been on my heart the last few weeks. And that is this: war.
With ISIS and the refugee crisis and Syria and Paris and Anonymous and everything that’s going on, it’s impossible not to think about it. But I don’t think that most people crying for the American military to kill all the Muslims really realize the evil they seem to be advocating.
After watching Mockingjay, I was mad. I was mad because of how perfectly it exposed the true nature of war. And that is that war can only end in war. Hate can only end in hate. Violence can only end in violence. In war, there is no winning. There is only bloodshed and heartbreak and misery and sorrow.
And I was mad, because I’d seen a series of pictures from bombings in Syria – bombings initiated by the American military in this war on ISIS – and I saw the broken bodies of children and mothers and fathers. I saw the missing limbs and the blood. And I saw the fathers clinging to the bodies of their sons, crying out for something – anything – to bring his son back. I saw the sorrow and the pain and the bloodshed. And it made me mad. Because this is what happens when we think that we can achieve peace through war. This is what happens when we think that we can bring peace be destroying our enemies – doing to them what they do to us. But that is so so so wrong.
So, today, on Thanksgiving Day, I’m reminded of the First Thanksgiving that took place at Plymouth Rock. And how the Colonists and the Natives all sat down at one table and ate a meal together, setting aside that bloody war in the pursuit of peace and gratitude.
This is what I want: peace and joy and love. And it begins with me. It begins with you too.
So today, I want to be thankful. And I don’t want to think about the wars and the heartbreak. I just want to be thankful with good food and good friends and the love of my family.
Here are a few things I’m thankful for today:
- I’m thankful for my journey. 2015 has been a crazy year for me and I’ve been places I never thought I would ever go. And God’s brought me out of places I never knew I needed to leave. And I’ve grown so much in this last year.
- I’m thankful for my family. I don’t know where I would be without their undying love and support through everything. Next to Christ, they are my rock and my strength.
- I’m thankful for true and loyal friends. Christopher, my best friend since birth. Mirriam, a dear friend who prayed for me during my darkest time and who let me vent to her on the occasion and who will tolerate my fanboyish rants in ALL CAPS. Herman, who could’ve stopped being a friend when our mutual friends cut me off, but chose to stay by my side instead. Matt, one of the coolest guys I know who understood me when no one else did.
- I’m thankful for my beta-readers for Love and the Sea and Everything in Between who encourage me to keep writing this story even when it’s hard and I want to quit. Their comments and reactions to every twist and turn and feels are the best.
- Lastly, but certainly not least, I’m thankful for Christ, whose blood has washed me clean, whose grace empowers me every day to be the man of God He has called me to be, whose love reminds me of things forgotten, who has made me the man I am today. A man I can be proud of.
With all that, I wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving and may your day be filled with peace and blessing and love and pure joy.