Well, here we are in sunny Southern California. We are east of where the fires burned so savagely last month, but driving through we saw a few traces of burned hillsides. The in-laws are in fine style; as I type this, my father-in-law is refusing to partner with one of my kids for Taboo in case he loses. He is only partly joking.
I’ve been reading a lot lately. I read Angels of a Lower Flight, about a former playboy playmate, abused as a child, who now spends her life in meeting unspeakable challenges in heartbreaking conditions in Haiti. Then I read Those Who Save Us, a novel about Germany in WWII.
I highly recommend that you read both of them, preferably this week. Neither of them are easy books, but both are excellent. This is the perfect week to immerse yourself in the very real sufferings of those around us. I would come out of the world of these books blinking, bemused, staring around me at my perfect family and nice surroundings, and being just so very glad that I’m not leaving my children starving to death in Haiti as I die of AIDS or am stabbed in the streets, or watching them gunned down in front of me by heartless Nazis, or having to make impossible choices to keep them alive.
It’s just a good reminder that, even though some people already have their Christmas lights up, the founders of this particular place where we live wanted their descendants to take some time to remember, to thank God, to be a people who are thankful for all that we enjoy. I always wondered why Thanksgiving was so late in the year–so far after harvest time. I found out last year, doing research to explain to my Mauritanian ESL class, that it was moved from September to November–I forget why, I forget when. Google it if you want. It doesn’t really matter. I’m just so glad that I get to celebrate it.
So I’m grateful, sitting here listening to my kids trying to play Taboo. Thankful that I’m not playing. Thankful that I finally got a chance to get on my computer after all these days. Thankful for my whole comfortable, crazy life.
(And I’m planning to do a more in-depth review of these books tomorrow. Possibly later)