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A Message of Gratitude at Thanksgiving

A Message of Gratitude at Thanksgiving
Andy Webster

This year, with all of its complexities, challenges and frustrations, has shone a light ironically brighter on gratitude.  It has been an exhausting run for all of us since the pandemic emerged in early spring, and we have all had to dig deep to find the focus to continue to adjust, the creativity to find new solutions to new problems, and the discipline to make the choices needed to ensure well-being.  

I am grateful that we have been able to create a school environment where learning and growth can continue at a high level.  That has been a matter of careful planning and execution, but it has also been a matter of creating a positive spirit of possibility.  The teachers and staff have risen to multiple challenges and have made the conscious choice to set aside their natural anxieties to create an atmosphere of joy and confidence.  They are exhausted from the effort and I wish them all a wonderful Thanksgiving, even though restricted to no more than 10 celebrants, with limited time spent in close quarters indoors.  

The first Thanksgiving celebrated by the colonists and the Wampanoags was born of a time of strife, with both groups in a period of suffering and fear.  There are echoes in the current times, where food insecurity is on the rise, disease spreading rapidly, and anxiety about the future. It is typically a time to gather with large groups of family and friends, which is not advised this year. So let’s spend more time with the ones we can celebrate with, reconnecting at a deeper level, and create joy where we can.

This is the year of the essential worker.  Doctors, nurses, medical staff of all kinds, farmers, truckers, supermarket workers, and of course teachers should feel our thanks.  I am going to share again a poem of blessing I have used before, but which has become even more poignant this year.  It is written by a poet of Mexican ancestry living in Texas. It is a simple offering, and I hope you enjoy it.

Grace

Thanks & blessings be
t
o the Sun & the Earth
for this bread & this wine,
t
his fruit, this meat, this salt,
this food;
t
hanks be & blessing to them
who prepare it, who serve it;
thanks & blessings to them
who share it
(& also the absent & the dead).
Thanks & Blessing to them who bring it
(may they not want),
to them who plant & tend it,
harvest & gather it
(
may they not want);
thanks & blessing to them who work
& blessing to them who cannot;
may they not want - for their hunger
sours the wine & robs
t
he taste from the salt.
Thanks be for the sustenance & strength
for our dance & work of justice, of peace.

 ~ Rafael Jesus Gonzalez ~

This afternoon, I enjoyed a girls’ varsity soccer playoff game on a chilly, sunny day, which feels so normal and good.  I am thankful to have the opportunity to cheer on our fine team, small in number but fierce and skilled, and grateful for those occasional tastes of the normal.

I wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving and hope it brings you true joy.

Warmest regards,

Andy Webster
Head of School