Gracious Gratitude
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Gracious Gratitude

Day 440

Never Forget Your History

It’s so easy to forget. We humans, our forgetters are powerful. We neglect to recall with any sufficient force the trials and tribulations that drew us to any given point in history. I’ve heard it said that if women could recall precisely the experience, the pain of childbirth, most of them would never do it more than once. When I share that thought with my friends who’ve had children, more than a few of them have nodded sagely and agreed.

So when I hear stories about people walking into synagogues and mowing down innocent people who have gathered in a place that is supposed to be among the most safe in the world, merely to recognize their faith. That they are mowed down in that place precisely because of that fact, because they were Jews and then I hear people speak in shock and surprise.

I have to shake my head sadly and look past the hot tears brimming in my eyes and say quietly that I am not surprised in the least. The only surprise is that it’s taken so long for the monsters to rise.

Last week a less talked about story — a shooter outside a church filled with African American families. Two people killed outside. That’s two more than should have had to worry about being shot … at church.

We forget, we silly, weak minded and insufficiently evolved creatures. We forget. In today’s world, that is compounded terribly by two factors — a deep decline and disintegration of our educational system, resulting in entire generations who just aren’t properly educated; and the scourge of the Internet and the wasteland of social media platforms to which it gave birth and the utter dissolution of our social fabric, courtesy of a society now more connected than ever and even more deeply disjoined and dissociated.

Candidly I saw that train wreck coming years ago. Could have foretold the social disaster to be wrought by an army of intellectually brilliant and socially inept individuals creating something to foster “communication.” Ever been in a room of tech industry people? I have. They are smart. They are interesting and they are, in large volume, about as socially stunted a group as you’ll ever meet. Entrusting them with platforms designed to bring the world together? That had disaster written across it from the start. At least now there are sharp and intelligent voices who may be drawing more attention to it as my friend Kara Swisher seems to be in her Opinion contributions to The New York Times.

Why this topic today? Well, I went to vote. I went to vote after taking a bit of extra time to evaluate and research a couple of the ballot measures. I’d heard about some shenanigans in other places with the electronic voting machines — people who’d found that their votes, originally cast for one party, had been changed. So I was meticulous. I went through slowly and carefully registering each click. I then checked it on the screen and reviewed my choices. Finally I reviewed the print out, screen by screen. I was in the voting booth for at least 15–20 minutes.

As I left and walked outside I felt utterly overwhelmed — a sense of gratitude that I have this privilege, a privilege that is only granted to me because a group of brave women (and some men) put their lives literally on the line that women could get the right to vote.

That wasn’t all that long ago when you look at the big picture of history, and yet how easily and simply we forget that this privilege granted can and for some people can be taken away.

While I sat in my car I began to think. Then I began to cry.

We must use our voices. Vote. If you can do so early, do. If you cannot, make sure you make a plan to go on Tuesday. Our nation’s very soul is in the balance. The way in which it tips is entirely up to us.

And … because dogs in costumes.

Today’s Gracious Gratitude. I am grateful for:

  • Having parents who taught me the importance of participating in Democracy
  • Memories of going to vote with my mother
  • My dogs
  • My dogs in costume
  • The ability to workout
  • Friends who help me stay accountable to myself
  • Being able to refrain from too much candy at Halloween
  • Fall weather

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There are studies that show a simple practice of gratitude awareness can be a real game changer for productivity.

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