Posted by: marthacoolcat | October 14, 2008

Thankfulness and guilt: Reflections on Turkey weekend

A smart woman at church said a wise thing  She has done a lot of international development with the Mennonite Central Comittee, the relief and development arm of the church. She said when she’s thankful, she eventually gets to thinking about the stuff she for which she is grateful. Having lived in Africa, people who do not have enough stuff come to mind. Why do we have so much? Boom, from thankful to guilty in 10 seconds.
She also talked about hospitality, and I am so grateful for the people I have been able to share a meal with this year. I really like gathering around a table with food, friends, and family. Call me sentimental, but I was so glad when five year old Henry told us to go round the table and say what we are grateful for.
So I don’t know how I will balance out appreciating what I’m blessed with, and acknowledging that many people have less. Stay tuned I guess.

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Responses

  1. in addition to providing a much-desired comment (i left out the expletives), i also give you a hug from one linhja. would that i had remembered to pass it on in person this evening! hugs as “telephone” gone digital is a very sad state of affairs, but we are reduced to such measures when our friends leave us for distant lands. take care, dear martochka*, take it all in. can i say “we’ll always have kitchener” when kitchener, for us, has yet to happen? i miss you already and can’t wait to follow your adventures.

    * i decided on this diminutive early this morning. just now, floating my theory on the stormy internet seas, i found confirmation in the unlikeliest of places: a Russian mail-order bride site. oh my, martochka!

  2. wait, maybe martoshka? a little too close to matryoshka, the russian nesting doll, but you could work it.

    and would you look at this! http://www.matroshka.se/

    (i’m supposed to be writing a paper….)

  3. Hey Martha,

    Having not traveled much myself, but reflecting on the difference between my life and the lives of the majority of the people in the world, I have tried to use my guilt to motivate me to promote equality.

    I don’t think there is a way to avoid guilt. We are all human and make mistakes. I think the trick is not getting stuck there. How, you ask? My armchair traveling has not gotten there yet 🙂

    I don’t know about you, but being generous tends to make me feel good. I assume that is true of others and other cultures as well.

    Ask about people’s lives. We like to talk about ourselves and to feel heard. My cousin who was working with women in Southern Africa said that the women appreciated someone to listen to their stories more than anything else. It makes us feel validated and important to someone.


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