I love the fall. The colors, the clothes, the food – everything is an absolute favorite. As we leave September and head into October and November, I am always extremely excited for the upcoming festivities – especially Thanksgiving. But this holiday goes beyond the delicious food and upcoming sales; at its core, it’s a time of reflection and service.
In the past month, we have had a lot of unfortunate events taking place in our country. From floods to shootings, it seems that each day the news is bringing us word of a new disaster. Some people find it hard to be thankful because of the suffering and difficulties they have experienced. In those moments of heartache, I tend to reflect on the words of Tennessee Williams from “The Glass Menagerie” — “…Life’s not easy, it calls for Spartan endurance.”
Beyond the events in the media, our local Utah LGBT community also is in need during this time of year. Everyday members of the LGBT community suffer from circumstances which prevent them from having access to housing, food or other basic needs.
So, what can we do about it?
A common way to show your thanks is to serve those in need during the season. Service comes in many forms. It can range from a monetary contribution to volunteering within the community. No act of service goes unnoticed.
As part of my Thanksgiving traditions I like to show my gratitude for what I have by giving back to those who are in need. I am fortunate enough to have an employer who sponsors a Pride group, and during the holidays we coordinate events which allow for any employee to participate and give back. We volunteer in the community and even build food baskets to make sure that those in need do not go without. Perhaps your employer has a similar resource, but if not, Utah is filled with LGBT resources who need our help in delivering on their missions.
So, what does the Thanksgiving holiday mean to you? Is it time for family and special dinners? Anticipation of Black Friday shopping and football games? Whatever the reason, make sure that it is something you are proud of. If done right, Thanksgiving is an opportunity to regain time with loved ones and remember who we are and what we stand for.
Take time this year to make some new traditions and give back if you can. Who knows, you may fall in love with the season all over again.