To Whom Much Is Given…

When my parents built their house several years ago, I remember them wondering how they would use the extra space, primarily the large back yard. They felt a responsibility to do more than selfishly enjoy their blessings. In response, they have become entertainers, hosting large gatherings and small groups, making others feel welcome and accepted in their home. Their hospitality is evident when young children ask, as they notice the leaves changing colors, if it is "time for Mr. Gary’s party soon".

For what are you most thankful this Thanksgiving? How will you share your blessings? Are you thankful for your home? an excess of food? family? employment? When I think of the children for whom I work, all those still waiting for families, I cannot help but think how very blest I am, and how spoiled we are in this country. Perhaps I feel it more strongly because I have been in the orphanages, I have seen what the children are eating, I have held them and tried to hold their pain just for a moment. I know that holidays are not a time of joy for everyone (I am a therapist after all). Holidays remind some of what we are missing, the goals we have not achieved, those areas in life that make us feel lonely. And yet, even in the dark days, there is something for which you can be thankful. There is something that you have to share.

A large part of my education was a gift. Although I had to study and attend classes, I finished school without any loans. I share what I have learned about child development, stress, trauma, and identity as we develop programs at MLJ and when I lead courses to help prepare adopting parents to be the best parents they can be. Without loan re-payments, I had the flexibility in my budget to work in an area of passion, even before we were a full agency. Even as I try to give back with what I have been given, I am blest to be here.

I hope that you are able to find joy and much about which to be thankful this holiday. I also hope that you will learn from my parents; to whom much is given, much is required. When you give back and share your blessings, I believe that you will be blest. Giving out of your thanks is not a financial investment, but it is a joyful investment.