Once upon a time there was a boy who loved to fly around the world using his miles and points. Around the globe he flew, visiting the far corners of the world; meeting new people and surveying new lands.
The boy grew into a man and his eyes were opened to the world around him, to the beauty of nature, the sights and smells of the world’s great cities, and the elegance of the human race. But he noticed something else, something troubling.
Humanity, for all its hints of goodness, was inimitably at war with itself. Not just wars of weaponry and nation states, but deeper wars of ideas and values. Like a cancer imperfectly treated, the pestilence of irreconcilable division ebbed and flowed…but perpetually manifested itself in fierce battles and spilled blood.
The man took this all in, wondering where his place was in all this was. A humanitarian? A missionary? A soldier? A politician? A writer? A peacemaker? Perhaps a little of each. Perhaps none of the above. He married a woman from a different culture and with a different worldview. The challenge of marriage personified the challenge of the surrounding world — putting differences asides to build trust, loyalty, and respect while growing in love and patience. Was this even possible absent divine intervention?
Then one Thanksgiving Day it hit him. He could not change the world. Not alone anyway. But there was one one thing he could do, something so trite on the one hand but absolutely revolutionary on the other: he could love his neighbor as he loved himself.
Just how would that look? Being honest, generous, forgiving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, and faithful to everyone he encountered. He would often fail, but it became a primary goal in life.
The man still ponders his place in this world, but there is one thing he knows — there may be many things he is not, but he is a traveler and that gives him a unique opportunity to put his maxim to practice in venues far beyond the friendly confines of home. Blessed with so much through circumstance of birth, he pauses to reflect upon the blessings he has been the recipient of, many from those who follow a similar maxim.
Perhaps one day you will meet him and he can encourage you or share in your struggles. His goal is to leave every person he crosses paths with knowing that they are loved and respected. Life is often unkind and this goal is insurmountable in all places and at all times, but it is worth pursuing.
Now, he invites you to join him in his journey to put others before himself. One day and one person at a time, humanity can tame the inhumane world it finds itself in.
This post has appeared annually on Thanksgiving Day since 2015.