I have had an interesting few weeks leading up to Thanksgiving this year. It's hard to believe while I'm sitting in the comfort of my father's house that only two weeks ago I was in Les Cayes Haiti on a mission trip with the Carlisle United Methodist church. That was my third trip to Haiti and every time I have been there it reminds me of how lucky I am to have grown up in a safe place with family and friends that care about me. We never had a lot of money growing up, but I can't remember ever really being hungry or going a day without a meal. The situation for the people we were working with in the small community of Deroche can't say the same. Having been there so recently makes Thanksgiving a little more poignant this year than it has been in the past.
The humility I felt from the trip was reinforced last week when several Tibetan Buddhist monks visited Dickinson College. They were there creating a sand mandala which is a process that involves intent concentration and patience. After spending most of a week on the project the sand is swept up and poured into moving water. It is amazing to see people spend so much time on something and then just sweep it away as if it were nothing. I believe that the exercise is meant to reinforce the Buddhist idea of impermanence and that we really shouldn't get attached to things of this world. As I would walk through the Library and see the monks at work I usually thought back to the people in Haiti that have so little to let go of in the first place. They probably don't need the lessons that a Buddhist monk would convey as much as I do, but I can't help but wonder how they would receive it anyway.
I feel like I could say so much more about this but the words just aren't coming out. I just hope that as we move into Christmas time I can hold on to these feelings of thankfulness and appreciation for what I have.