Giving thanks

I have so much to be thankful for and humbled by. I’m so blessed; I have a wonderful amazing support network comprised of other beautiful strong people whom I admire and love dearly; I have a wonderfully playful adorable pup who is loving and loyal and has brought me so much joy and taught me responsibility; I have a sweet roommate who has turned into a friend that I trust and appreciate; I have a job that pays me to continue to live a lifestyle I am accustomed to that many people would dream of; I have my health; I have amazing opportunities that continue to make their way into my life at every turn; I have freedom and literacy; I have education readily available; along with clean water; I am alive.

I have an abundance of goodness in my life that I stopped taking for granted along the way.

I recently volunteered at a soup kitchen in Chelsea. It is the biggest soup kitchen in Manhattan. I spent 4 hours of a Sunday on my feet handing out water to the homeless that were eating off their food trays given to them by other volunteers. We fed  over 1000 meals. I spoke to so many people some were very thankful and sweet; some were not very friendly. Some were blatantly abusing the system and working the different volunteers to get more trays of food. It made me sad to think that they felt they couldn’t just ask and be given the food; instead they felt they had to work an angle to get what they needed. Not what they wanted but what they needed. This is what some of these people are taught through their struggles and it broke my heart.

I’ve volunteered more than a handful of times at random points in my life in varying ways. When I was attending junior college I was a part of the UNICEF club and volunteered with grade schools to make lunch with the kids or do arts and crafts. At a company I was with I helped spearhead the backpack and school supply drive and assisted in the toys for tots by collecting money and buying the gifts for those that didn’t have the time to do so. I’ve participated in clothing drives.

I’ve always wanted to be a consistent volunteer but life always got in the way. I wanted to do more and contribute more but for one reason or another (not knowing where to go to find volunteer work, not having the time, etc) I didn’t. When natural disasters hit I was quick to donate money. Sometimes that avenue is easier than giving of your time. But also, sometimes money is what will really bring relief to certain situations. My dad always told me when I was a kid that whenever I found money on the ground or somewhere random I should donate half of it to the church.That stuck with me.

I do little things for strangers that I don’t feel necessary deserve praise. It’s so little and doesn’t impact my finances much but if someone were to do them for me I would feel good. Little things make the world go ’round. If someone is having a shitty day or a shitty life and someone reaches out a hand in a tender way without asking for anything back it solidifies human connection. We are all connected to each other in one way or another.

With all the crazy in the world people need to pause and be kind to one another. Hurting someone’s small business in protest does not help bring about justice. It in fact creates more turmoil and anger and grief in the community. People need to support and uplift and try to affect change in a way that forces people to listen. Allowing someone to bully someone and not intervene condones a bully’s behavior. Not speaking up for what is right and what is moral makes one a coward and in my eyes just as bad as one behaving badly. Once there is anger and lack of compassion and fear people stop listening and just react. It completely breaks my heart to see all that is going on in the world and in the news. I’m too sensitive and emotional to continue reading all these new articles about the sadness and the crazy.

I try to be positive and optimistic and I will continue to try to be true to that person in me but in lieu of recent events it’s been tough. I will also try harder to give back to my community if not to A community in need. I can’t sit around anymore and wish to do more for those in need. I have to do more for those in need.

Volunteering at the soup kitchen was such a wonderful experience. One that I will try to make regular. It was beyond rewarding. It was completely humbling. These people that are homeless or in low income families were in real need. Some people were my age. Some people had their children with them. It shocked me a little actually. It also broke my heart but instilled in me a faith in human kindness. People want to help. And people getting help appreciate it.

I spent Thanksgiving yesterday at the house of 2 friends I have become closer to since I moved to New York. Their parent’s opened their home to me and another friend and shared a special occasion with strangers. My two friends Dahlia and Kimia are both amazing, loving, generous people and I saw firsthand how they got to be that way. We all laughed and shared stories over a delicious meal and good wine and the bomb ass pecan pie I made from scratch! It truly made me feel love and gratitude in my heart, especially being so far away from home and loved ones I usually spend Thanksgiving with.

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My heart is full (as well as my belly) and I want to thank all of you that have supported me and loved me and continue to do so. I am grateful for every single one of you.

Thank you.

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