Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” Emma Lazarus
The poem by Emma Lazarus inscripted upon the Statue of Liberty has become an emblem our country’s promise. To the dismay of some, we are truly overwhelmed with hungry, needy refugees. To others, we are a delicious culinary stew of exotic tastes and economic opportunities.
The quality of economic opportunities may be debatable, as well as the legality of some of the immigrants Everyone agrees that America has changed. Change is inevitable. The forward march of time is ceaseless. Values and behavior can be maintained through tradition, but there will always be change. The celebration of Thanksgiving no longer involves actual Pilgrims eating scrawny wild turkey shared with Native Americans.
Imagine the disbelief of early Americans if they could see queues of people waiting to fly hundreds of miles for a holiday. Or food gathering expeditions that entail heaping large quantities and varieties of food into baskets from store shelves. Standing in long pre-thanksgiving lines to make purchases, people are overwhelmed with stress, reviewing their shopping lists, fighting to contain their patience at the extra long wait for a cashier. Freed from plagues, violence, forces of nature, malnutrition, we are irritated by the stressors of modern life.
For this let us be grateful. There is joy to be found in being alive. If you cannot find it, reach out your hand. If you want to keep it, share it with someone else. If you are tired and unwell, take care of yourself first – it is allowed. Many of us yearn for a simpler time, myself included. Stop, breathe, and look for inspiration. As a the t-shirt logo says, “Life is good.”