thanksgiv-daySitting upon the porch of my rented home, I look back at a room filled with handmade quilts. I grab a medium size quilt and warm myself under the sun during this brisk autumn day! Looking upon Lake Champlain, I reverence its solitude, broken only by the flurry of several birds darting to and fro upon the shoreline.

Lake Champlain is filled with color this cold day. Reminiscing, I remember the coats of colors found upon my journey throughout the world. Lakes and rivers taken on many different colors. Living in Albany one year, I noticed New York map lists White Lake, Green Lake, Silver Lake, Black Lake, and Lake Clear.

On this Thanksgiving, we must remember how the colors of life impact us. What makes us blessed is that each of us have many lakes. We are full of colors and our hues burn through the outer shell and fall upon all to see. It is important to remember who we are and our heritage, remembering always to be thankful.

Surely, there is a tremendous amount of tragedy to our life. But as we gather together around tables filled with food and share with our loved ones, it’s appropriate to remember the many things all have to be thankful — as individuals, families, a community and a nation. Some souls reside upon this earth for a long time while others experience shorter. We can bring joy and love wherever you go. We can spread sunlight and kindness. We can be souls of strength and kindness. We can be thankful for the opportunities won and lost.

I recently met the owner of Queen Donuts in Tucson, Arizona. In her youth, she and her family escaped the Khmer Rouge of Cambodia with nothing but their clothes, made their to Seattle and then onward to Tucson, Arizona where Queen Donuts came to fruition. Losing a son to gun violence, she still finds the ability to be joyful for each holiday season, for the life they’ve had, friends made and love offered. They know each customer by name and bring so much joy and peace to all who grace their shop.

I also met the unofficial mayor of Copper Crest retirement community. Each morning, this 20 pound pralines and cream colored Terrier visits each and every resident, while sipping a spoonful of water and nibbling treats. Aging residents are thankful for Skip’s daily visits. In his own unnoticed way, he forms and bonds a sense of community, gathering of time and experiences and lifetime of life and love.

These simple moments remind me to be thankful of our time together.

Personally, I am thankful for the time I had with Ms. K. I am thankful for the morning greetings we exchanged. I am thankful to have experienced the blooming flowers of spring, to hold her hand while walking, to touch her skin in the cool night, her laughter, to feel her breath upon my skin and a connection so deep one thought God was present.  I am proud of her continued journey to save those in need. K., even though we far apart, you remain very near, your smile starts and end my day.

I am grateful to all, even for those who irritated me, since they reveal to me the inner core of my own truth. I might believe I’m an all-encompassing exquisite person, but all nurse grudges, attachments, pride, jealousy, ego-clinging, and all the rest of that mucky stuff. Without such educators, I would remain aloof even to my own soul.

But just like the lakes of Vermont and New York, we are a single coat, a family of many colors. We must remember to reach out give love all the days of the year, not just Thanksgiving. Remember to breathe life into one another, forge a unity of family or friends, the solidarity of community, the bond of closer ties. Use this time to develop an attitude of gratitude: to all in our lives who’ve contributed towards our fortune and success.

As for me, I thank you Ms. K and offer my blessings … wherever you are.