My small town has recently welcomed a Syrian refugee family. Soon after their arrival, the newspaper ran a picture of the mom, dad and their three young children playing in the local park. It was an ordinary, yet also extraordinary scene.
Our new neighbours have spent the last three years in a refugee camp not knowing what their future held. Via a translator, the father expressed his gratitude to Canada, Canadians, and those in our little town for sponsoring his family. That ordinary newspaper photo marked the start of a new phase in all their lives.
Tomorrow, an immigrant of another kind will boost our town’s population further. Like the Syrian family, Tech Guy is also moving between countries. There, however, any similarity ends.
He also has a home where some of his clothes already hang in a closet, and his grandfather’s chair waits. He’s never known the horror of war, homelessness, or of having every aspect of his life turned upside down.
Like these new Syrian-Canadians, though, Tech Guy and I are also grateful.
We’re grateful for the job that’s made it possible for our family to be reunited.
And we’re grateful for the kindness of those in our community, strangers a mere fourteen months ago, who have welcomed us, taken our family to their hearts, and shown caring and support when English Rose and I have sorely needed it.
When I chose “gratitude” as my word for 2016, I had no idea how topical it would be.
There are many things for which I can’t be grateful; English Rose’s illness for one. But intentionally choosing an “attitude of gratitude” has made even the hard times a bit easier.
Our Syrian neighbours will celebrate their first Canadian Thanksgiving. A chance, perhaps, for them to try pumpkin pie and maple roast turkey, or take a peaceful walk to admire the autumn colours.
Despite the myriad of differences between their family and ours, we’re both marking a new beginning this Thanksgiving. And we both have special reasons to be grateful.
Happy Thanksgiving to those celebrating. And Thanksgiving or not, wishing you ordinary times with those you love, and gratitude for blessings large and small.