Thankful – RAVEN OAK


Instead of a Book Cover Throwback for this Thursday, I’m posting my thoughts on Thanksgiving as today is Thanksgiving in the U.S.

Raven Oak's 9th Birthday

This is me on my 9th? Birthday.

Thanksgivings as a child were odd to me, as were most holidays. My father was a single parent, and we lived far away from his family in Michigan. We were also dirt poor, so flying or even driving up there from Florida or Texas was a big deal.

The majority of my holidays were spent alone in an apartment with my father, wishing I had a big family to celebrate with. Because of this, I don’t have any Throwback shots of Thanksgivings from childhood (instead I will share a picture from my 9th birthday).

People can be wonderful though, and as I grew older, neighbors would often “adopt” us into their families for the holidays. We ate Thanksgiving with my father’s coworkers and their families or the people living in the apartment next door. I met everyone from children all the way up to their grandparents and then some. Being added to so many families taught me that family is what we make of it.

In the past two weeks, I’ve had a dozen friends or family lose parents, siblings, or children. I’ve had another six who’ve lost pets. That doesn’t even touch on the grief and frustration across the US this week. With all this sadness, it can be difficult to remember the things we’re thankful for.

Today I spend with my husband making new memories together as we continue our tradition of Thanksgiving Lunch in Seattle. We will relax together and spoil our kitties rotten.

It’s not my intention for this post to be a downer–but it’s important to remember that not everyone will be celebrating today. Some will grieve and others struggle to feed themselves. What we each have is truly amazing–a privilege that so many do not.

I am thankful for life. For my husband. For my ability to create. For my friends and my family (even when they drive my crazy). For my ability to be a light in the darkness. And most of all, for my compassion.

Some will see it as a flaw, but it is my compassion for the world which drives everything I am and do.

“Compassion hurts. When you feel connected to everything, you also feel responsible for everything. And you cannot turn away. Your destiny is bound with the destinies of others. You must either learn to carry the Universe or be crushed by it. You must grow strong enough to love the world, yet empty enough to sit down at the same table with its worst horrors.” ― Andrew Boyd

I hope each of you has a Thanksgiving full of life and purpose.


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