This month, following an election season that intensified discord even among family and friends, my colleagues and I in the Clinton Ministerial Association watch and work for signs of hope, reconciliation, and gratitude – in the community we cherish and in the wider world.
As we prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving Day in our country, finding reasons to be thankful really do make a difference. Here’s something I am thankful for: Recently I finished reading the 2016 New York Times Bestseller, "The Book of Joy: lasting happiness in a changing world." The book takes readers through lively and inspiring dialogue between South Africa’s Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and His Holiness The Dalai Lama, now in their 80s. Both are past recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize. Though they hold divergent practices, beliefs and customs, we see the beautiful development of deep friendship and respect between two giants of our spiritual world.
The Dalai Lama and the Archbishop survived years of exile, oppression, and hardship, yet are masters at expressing the gift of joy. Together in this book, they talk about finding joy in the face of life’s inevitable serious conflicts and suffering. Their experiences are not the same, yet they value and respect one another’s perspective. They model for us one key to greater understanding: inviting others and sitting down together in conversation, one-on-one. Even those with whom we think we have little or nothing in common can teach us something new – if only we are open to it.
I give thanks for the Archbishop and the Dalai Lama’s example of welcoming difference, working to understand one another, and reaching out in faith during this fractured time in our world. I give thanks that their example continues to teach me whether at church, out in the community, or with my family and friends. As a Christian I am called to live a life of hope and to encourage it in others.
What gives you hope as we look to the end of a calendar year and anticipate the new? In this season of gratitude, what are you thankful for? This month, thank someone for making a difference in your life. Your thanks will go a long way.
Rev. Raisin Horn,
Christ Episcopal Church, Clinton
Vice President, Clinton Ministerial Association