This is a little long, somewhat off-kilter, personal and not specifically about the great organizations the Greater Impact Foundation (GIF) supports, but it does reflect how working for GIF makes one think and feel. It is also a little late. A week has passed since Thanksgiving, over a month since returning from Africa and I am still catching up; ruminating about my experience and the meaning of goodwill.
It is Saturday morning after Thanksgiving; early, no one awake except the wobblily, old, half blind dog trying to find the door in the dark to get out, probably to go to the bathroom.
Of course, I’m awake too. Not quite as old. Not quite as wobblily, no need to go out, so to speak… just yet, but certainly not ready to get up either. But I cannot stop the mind from racing ahead. Is it hard to move the host when the mind tells you to get up? It used to be easy. Up. Out the door. On the move. That was then. This is now. The old dog looks up towards me, smelling, not seeing me as I anthropomorphize and says, “Are you nuts? Of course, it's early, but if you do not get your ass out of the bed I am going to go right here, right now and that, my old brother, is something you do not want to deal with in the pre-dawn chill!” So, I got up.
It used to be easier. For both of us. But, now I am up, frantically searching in the dark for my pants and shirt, trying to sequence what needs to happen in the next 30-seconds before I end up on my knees doing the last thing I want to do this morning, cleaning up after man’s best friend (ha!) in my Mother-in-Law’s house the day after a tryptophan overdose, and a long flight home.
The dog went right back to bed, curled up in his blanket and passed out probably until next Thanksgiving.
Me, not so lucky. The key had been turned in the ignition and while my body was still just cranking up, my mind was in gear, long out the door. That is why I am here right now writing this down. No one else is awake. Why should they be? I’m not even fully awake. My body is still waiting for one complete revolution of the blood stream. My back is still waiting for forever how much time it takes to stop reminding me that I have one. My brain is revved up, but would prefer the help of a strong cup of coffee to sync my digestion system with my circulatory system so that my brain stops complaining about what the hell I am doing awake when I should be comatose dreaming about something less compelling than commode communing that I know will make me less cranky. A lot less cranky. Then suddenly, I realize that I must be channeling the old dog. Except that he has that canine capacity to suddenly lapse into a sleep state and forget it all and I do not. I am now awake and the only capacity I have is to begin to feel guilty about what I am complaining about when I know deep down how damn lucky I am. I must be Jewish, or Catholic or paranoid or marginally insane, but, alas, that is the way it is. Deep down, something else I am not aware of (Freud could probably tell me) keeps telling me to stop complaining. I know how lucky I am. I have the blessing of a cohesive family. Everyone is reasonably healthy. Marginal insanity is my private reserve. No one is starving (remember Thanksgiving just passed) and I have a job that constantly reminds me that there are those in the world who have no time to complain because they are too busy just surviving.
Thanksgiving is a mindful time of year. I know the essence of the concept has morphed over time and that likely history of its origin and evolution is questionable. Historians do that sort of reconstruction, building something from disparate parts to make a point that is likely a little fuzzy. Yet, the concept of Thanksgiving, even if it has changed shape over time is worth dwelling on. It is worth it because it offers us all the opportunity to cherish what is dearest while reminding us that it is a blessing to have the luxury to do so. And, even though I am now awake way to early, my body is in revolt and I am filling time writing this until I am civil enough to talk to another human, I do appreciate more than I let one how lucky I am.
I could detail that now, but the list is long, so suffice to say that I am aware. And, since everyone else is blissfully asleep, I am writing it down because unlike the cranky, old dog, now sleeping like he is dead, I am awake and wanted you to know. Choice is a luxury.
About a third of the planet has little or no choice. Sustenance is a daily struggle. I always knew that, but on-the-road for the Greater Impact Foundation makes me realize what a blessing choice really is. The holidays are here. Everyone should enjoy them. But, try not to forget.